Wednesday, 4 April 2012


BRITAIN - Corey Youlden

Serial offender Cory Youlden pleaded guilty to the murder of defenceless 83 year-old pensioner Paul Cox in a “savage” attack after breaking into his home while out of prison on licence has been jailed for life. Mr Cox who had been burgled so many times he had taken to sleeping in his front room with his most valuable belongings.

The 23-year-old was jailed by judge Robert Juckes at Worcester Crown Court on the 27th February 2012 after being shopped to his girlfriend’s policeman brother.

The court heard that the officer had been tipped off after Youlden’s partner, Claire Woodward, heard about the murder and informed her mother of her suspicions.

He had initially claimed he had been with two other men, one of whom Youlden claimed had killed Mr Cox, when he broke into the house in Rednal, Worcestershire, in June 2011

Alex Warren, prosecuting, told the court Youlden had only been freed on licence after a previous spell in prison for burglary in February 2011.

“He was staying with his girlfriend Claire Woodward,” he said. “She told police they had had a row the previous night at her home in Frankly.

“He entered Mr Cox’s house by breaking a panel in a bay window at the front of his house.

“Having been burgled several times before Mr Cox had taken to sleeping in a chair in his living room with his most important possessions on his body.”

According to Mr Warren, Youlden searched the whole house and at some point came across Mr Cox.
Post mortem reports showed that he had been killed by heart failure but he also had injuries to his neck, which suggested he had been strangled.

“He had received injuries to his neck that were in line with being placed in an headlock,” added Mr Warren.

“The defendant returned to Miss Woodward’s home at 7.30 the next morning seemingly very hyper and told her he was in possession of a Ford Focus.

“He told her he had been given it by a man who asked him to take it to somewhere else.
“He went to the car and brought in bags of shopping containing food and alcohol, which had both belonged to Mr Cox.

“Eventually he admitted the car was stolen and she told him to get rid of it.

“It was eventually sold to two men, and found later burning in Erdington, Birmingham.

“Youlden was arrested after Miss Woodward heard about Mr Cox’s death on the news and told her mother what had happened.

“Her mother told her brother, a police officer, and Youlden was arrested on June 5.

“Initially in interview he claimed he was with two other men, one of whom had killed Mr Cox.

“This led to the arrest of two other men, it was when he was told this he changed his story to the one he has used since.”

Youlden, who wore a red and blue rugby top, sat emotionless in the dock as he was sentenced to a minimum of 22 years in jail.

Sentencing him to life imprisonment Judge Robert Juckes described the murder as “savage”.

“Paul Cox was a disabled man, having lost most of his sight and hearing,” he said.

“But he was fiercely independent, and his neighbours did their best to look after him.

“You would have seen the house was dilapidated and an easy target.

“I accept that you drank wine and smoked a cigarette before killing Mr Cox.

“You saw a light in another room and instead of doing what most would and leaving you went to confront Mr Cox.

“You got behind him somehow and put your arm round his neck. Rather than helping him you left, he would have died in your arms and you moved him to the chair where he was found.

“I stress this is a minimum term I set and the life sentence for murder will mean you will spend the rest of your life either in prison or under severe supervision.”

Youlden has previous convictions for burglary, battery, robbery and theft dating back to 2002, when he was 14.

According to Stephen Linehan, defending, Youlden had lived a “wretched” home life.

“He was fostered when he was just 11 months,” said Mr Linehan. “After that he was adopted when he was 8 or 9 by the woman who he still calls his mother.

“But when he was thirteen she got a new partner who abused her and when he tried to defend her he was kicked out of the house for good and into care.

“When he stole the car he was on his way back to his licence hostel and decided, as was his way, to steal a car rather than walk several miles.”

A statement from Mr Cox’s family, read out by DC Amjad Iqbal of West Mercia Police described the murdered pensioner, who died just days before his 84th birthday, as “kind and loyal”.

“Despite being 83 Paul Cox was still able to love life,” he said.

“He still drove his car, saw his family regularly and was able to go for a pint.

“There is no reason to think he could not still be doing so were it not for his brutal and senseless murder.”

Detective Chief Inspector Paul Williamson, of West Mercia Police, said Mr Cox was fiercely independent and enjoyed watching cricket and other sport on television.

He said: “He had been sleeping down there due to previous burglaries at the house and he was in fear of people doing it again so he spent a lot of time in his downstairs in his rear living room.

“It was a brutal killing of an elderly man by a man who is 60 years his junior, and Mr Cox was absolutely no match for this burglar who had come into his house.”

Youlden was also sentenced to five years for burglary and five years for theft to run concurrently with his sentence.

Thursday, 22 December 2011


Brian Lewis was convicted on the 10th September 2009 of murdering his partner less than a fortnight after she changed her status to single on Facebook.

Lewis first stabbed and then strangled Hayley Jones to death at the home they shared with their four children.

The 31-year-old from Pritchard Terrace, Phillipstown, New Tredegar, South Wales, then fled the scene during the early hours of March 12, 2009 and drove to a police station, leaving his children to find their mother's body in the living room.

Cardiff Crown Court heard the couple's relationship had been under strain due to financial pressures after the defendant was made redundant. They also bickered over the amount of time Ms Jones had taken to spending on the Facebook website.

Lewis had claimed he had been trimming his finger nails with a kitchen knife when he tried to "touch" his 26-year-old partner's sleeping bag with the tip of the blade out of frustration following a row.

The knife pierced two sleeping bags and went through three layers of clothing Ms Jones had been wearing while trying to sleep on a settee before her ribcage prevented it from penetrating any further.

He said he later found himself with his hands around Ms Jones's throat and only came to and released his grip when he heard one of his sons calling out from upstairs.

After just three hours of deliberation, the jury of eight women and four men rejected this explanation and returned a unanimous guilty verdict.

Lewis showed no emotion as the verdict was read out although there were shouts of "Yes!" and "Get in there!" from the public gallery.

After calling for quiet, Judge Roderick Evans sentenced Lewis to life imprisonment and ordered that he serve a minimum tariff of 14 years, less the time spent in custody on remand.

During the trial the jury heard the couple had been together for 13 years and regarded themselves as husband and wife.

However, due to financial pressures after the defendant lost his job working on the railways in 2007, cracks had begun to appear in the relationship.

On March 2, Ms Jones went as far as changing her relationship status to single following a row over the disciplining of one of their sons.

The court has previously heard a post-mortem examination found Ms Jones died of strangulation. Most significant, said prosecutor Mark Evans QC during his opening, was a stabbing injury she received to her chest before she died.

The prosecutor said although this proved to be non-fatal, by penetrating two sleeping bags and three layers of clothing she was wearing while trying to sleep on the living room settee, it illustrated she had not been on her feet fighting the defendant at that time.

After taking to the witness box to give evidence, Lewis told the jury he did have an issue with the amount of time Ms Jones was spending on a laptop computer he bought for her in February of this year.

He said she would sometimes come home at 8am after working a 12 hour shift at a care home and stay up for "three to four hours" browsing the site before going to bed. He said her free evenings were also spent on the computer.

"I would be trying to send the kids to bed and she would be on it," he said. "You would try to talk to her and she would just ignore you. There were arguments."

He added: "I didn't have an issue with her using it (the laptop), it was just when normal life was disrupted."

He said Ms Jones was quite open about her activity on the computer at first but gradually became more secretive and would close the lid on the laptop whenever he came near.

When his barrister, Peter Murphy QC, asked how relations were between him and his partner by the end of February, Lewis replied: "They were all right but there were petty arguments about the computer usage.

"We were together and doing things but you could see the usage and problems in the house were just building up slowly."

Mr Evans said the couple's four children, Jordan, Cory, Kian and Tia, are now in the care of their grandmother, Sally Williams.

He said their former family home is also likely to be repossessed imminently after being preserved as a crime scene by Gwent Police until recently.

In mitigation, Mr Murphy said: "Whatever he may have done, he too has lost everything. I don't say that as an excuse or that it can ever be compared with the loss the family of Ms Jones have experienced, but it is true."

He added: "His children are effectively lost to him. I know through my dealings with him that this almost has been a bigger burden to him as the loss he has caused them."

Mr Justice Evans said the defendant launched a "murderous attack" on his partner on the night in question.

He said two aggravating features in the incident were the use of a knife and the attack taking place within earshot of his children.

"Quite how much they (the children) saw or heard is difficult to tell but I have no doubt that part of this incident occurred when they were observing it or hearing it," said the judge.

"There are mitigating factors. I bear in mind you are of good character. I accept it was not pre-planned but I'm satisfied there was no provocation.

"This arose because you were frustrated, angry and upset but not because of what she said or did to you."

After the case the victim's mother, Sally Williams, released a statement which said: "The murder conviction and sentence of Brian Lewis today can never replace the loss of my beautiful daughter Hayley Jones.

"She was a devoted mother to her four children, Jordan, Cory, Kian and Tia. She recently started work to try and improve the life of her and her family."

She said that as her daughter lay asleep, she was "cowardly attacked by the accused and left for dead" who then left their children to "see all the destruction he had left behind".

She added: "Her days of seeing her children growing up and possibly becoming a grandmother were cruelly taken from her on March 12.

"Although Hayley you are no longer with us in this life, you are always in our thoughts and you will always live on through your children. God bless."

Outside court, Detective Chief Inspector Russ Tiley of Gwent Police said: "We are satisfied with the decision of the court. It was a tragic event that had taken place and our thoughts are with the family and friends of Hayley.

"The children and family were brave throughout this process and hopefully the verdict that has been reached will now give them some closure."

He added: "I would also like to thank the officers of the major investigation team for the thoroughness of the inquiry they have taken."

Sunday, 11 December 2011


A MAN who murdered a fellow student by beating him with a dumbbell was sentenced to life in prison on the 2nd December 2011.

Emlyn Evans-Loude, 27, from Leytonstone, must serve a minimum of 17 years for killing Michal Mazur on January 11, 2011.

Evans-Loude attacked Mr Mazur with the dumbbell and a chair at his flat in Wallwood Road, Leytonstone, following a night out.

The Metropolitan University student then bagged the body and hid it in his airing cupboard before begging an acquaintance to help dump it in Epping Forest.

Police found the corpse of Mr Maxzur at the flat after he was reported missing in January.

Officers later arrested Loude in Devon, where he grew up.

Barry Graves, Crown Prosecution Service lawyer, said: “This was a particularly callous murder and there was little evidence that he acted in self-defence, as he claimed.

“Our thoughts are with Michal’s family at this difficult time and we hope this successful prosecution comes as some comfort to them.”


A Coventry woman and her partner have been given life sentences on the 5th December 2011 for murdering the father of her daughter over fears of losing custody rights.

Jason Bissell, 39, from Coventry, was struck over the head with a hammer, suffocated and left in a fishing lake.

Joanne Dawn Griffiths, 41, of Bridgeacre Gardens, was told she would serve at least 28 years by the judge at Birmingham Crown Court.

Peter Andrew Hood, 44, of Vernon's Lane in Nuneaton, was  told he would serve at least 24 years. Warwickshire Police said his minimum tariff was lower than Griffiths's because he changed his plea to guilty on the first day of his trial on 6 October and gave evidence for the prosecution in her trial.

Mr Bissell's body was discovered at Lanny's Lagoon Fishery at Stretton-under-Fosse in October 2010. He had fathered a daughter with Griffiths, who was found guilty of his murder.

'Horrific evidence'

Det Ch Insp Pete Hill said he welcomed the sentences handed out considering the "premeditated" nature of the crime.

Speaking outside the court he said: "The pathologist said that Jason had been struck nine or 10 times with a hammer.

"If that wasn't bad enough he was then bound with gaffer tape around his nose and mouth.

"He was dragged to the pond and weighted down with a rock and then they cleaned up after themselves.

"I'm pleased with the result for the family because the family has shown dignity throughout the trial.

"They've had to listen to some pretty horrific things as to how Jason died.

"I just hope it may be possible for them to start rebuilding their lives."

In a previous statement, Mr Bissell's family said: "Jason was a bright and loving dad, son brother and friend.

"His life was taken in an unbelievable way for trying to do what he knew was right."


A FACTORY worker who tormented, abused and finally murdered a helpless baby will serve at least 24 years behind bars.

On the 2nd December 2010, Darren Newton was to sentenced life imprisonment, Mr Justice Stephen Irwin said the months of cruelty inflicted on 15-month-old Charlie Hunt were ‘inexplicable’.

Newton filmed himself on his mobile phone repeatedly slapping, prodding and kicking the child while babysitting.

Eventually the blond youngster’s tiny body gave out and he collapsed and died as a result of serious brain injuries.

Following his death a serious case review was launched jointly by Lancashire and Bradford Safeguarding Children Board.

Charlie had spent the first six months of his life being monitored by social services but was not classed as ‘at risk’ at the time of his death.

Mr Justice Irwin told Newton: “Anyone who watches the video clips of some of what you did, and I am convinced you recorded only some of what you did, will genuinely struggle to understand why you came to do this.

“Eventually you killed him. It was a futile and wasteful death of an innocent toddler.

“Part of the wickedness of what you did was a complete contrast between the sympathetic and affectionate picture you presented to the outside world, to your own family and to Charlie’s mother, and the truth of how you behaved to him when you had him on your own.

“You deceived her and everyone. She will regret being deceived for the rest of her life.”

Charlie was being looked after by Newton, his mother Laura Chapman’s boyfriend, when he suddenly collapsed.

Paramedics rushed the baby to Airedale Hospital after resuscitation attempts by Newton’s parents, Ernest and Joan, who lived next door, failed. He was pronounced dead shortly afterwards.

Home Office pathologist Dr Philip Lumb ruled that Charlie had suffered brain injuries which had been caused by ‘considerable force’.

Newton denied hitting Charlie on the day of his death, insisting he had appeared happy and content before he fell ill.

But checks of his mobile phone revealed a series of horrific video clips of the 15-month-old being tormented and abused, between June and November that year.

Under titles like ‘happy slap’, ‘2 minutes of pain’, and ‘no toys in pen ah’, Newton could be seen cuffing, prodding and even kicking Charlie, from behind the camera.

Charlie’s mother, who had moved to Earby from Bradford, was never present while the abuse took place.

Charlie's heartbroken mum has said she hopes Darren Newton “rots in hell”.

Laura Chapman, 30, speaking alongside Charlie’s dad Richard Hunt, 44, said her 15-month-old son had been her “everything”.

The couple, who split up when Charlie was four months old, said they had been devastated to find out that Newton had abused their son over a number of months.

Laura said: "I didn't have any suspicions about what he was doing, I was in complete shock when I found out.

“I was hysterical when I had to watch the videos - I was disgusted.

“It was extremely difficult to watch them, to see someone you love that much get hurt by someone that you trusted.

"I entrusted him with the care of the one main thing in my life and for him to do that is a betrayal of my son, myself and everything I know.

"A lot of people were asking did I know, or surely I must have known, but no I didn't.

"If I'd have known, he would never have been left with Darren - Darren wouldn't have been walking.”

Laura said that after Charlie died she and Newton were questioned by police investigating what happened to her son.

She said: "I was arrested and was horrified at first. But then I realised that the police had a job to do.”

She said that after being bailed, Darren had seemed a bit upset, “but not like other people grieve”.

"We had to go back in and I was sat in a police cell when they told me about the videos,” she said.

“I didn't believe it could be Darren at first. I actually had to watch them to believe it was him.

"I hate him, I hope he rots in hell.

Laura said she could not understand why Newton had attacked her son.

She said: "I don't know why he did it, it's been going through my head.

"He always knew that I would put Charlie first before anything else. That's the only thing that I can think of.

"In court, he said that Charlie was my entire world.

"I was quite surprised he told the truth to be honest, but he's right. He was my everything.

"Charlie was an angel. He was always very happy, he loved to play and he was a good eater and a good sleeper.

"Any mother would love to been mother of that little boy.

Laura said that before she left on the day Charlie died she had played with him and his babysitter.

Later Newton took over babysitting duties.

She said: “Darren was a bit nervous when he first started to look after him - obviously he'd had experience with his nephew and nieces, but he'd never been in a position when he had looked after a baby that young.

"When I first left Charlie with Darren it was short periods at first, to make sure that Charlie was ok with him - that he was happy with him being around.

"In court he said he resented looking after him, but I asked him every single time.

That afternoon Newton phoned Laura to say Charlie had been taken ill.

She said: "Darren said that Charlie basically had had another fit and that I needed to get to the hospital - the paramedics were downstairs with Charlie working on him.

"I was panicking just to get to the hospital.

"I went to A&E and I was taken through to a family room and Darren's mum was there crying.

"She kept saying to me I'm sorry - I tried to resuscitate him.

"Then a doctor came in, he said about resuscitation and then it is all a blur. He had died before I even got to him.”

Laura said the court case and giving evidence had been extremely difficult.

She said: "I want Darren to go down for a long time for what he has done. I want him to get locked up for life.

"There were times when I felt like I was on trial but I knew it was going to be difficult, I knew it had to be done.

"He is evil and twisted, for what he did to Charlie and for putting everyone through this.

Charlie's dad Richard Hunt said: "Newton is just an evil individual and he deserves what he gets.
"Like Laura said, I hope he gets locked away for a long time.

"I didn't know anything was going on, if I did I would have stopped it, I would have done something about it.

"When I heard about the videos I felt numb thinking what sick animal would do something like that.

"I just can't get my head around it, why somebody would do that? Why somebody like him would do this to a 15-month-old boy who can't protect himself?

"I had to walk out of court. I couldn't handle hearing my boy crying like that.

"He was crying for help and there was no-one there to help him.

Mr Hunt said he would never get over his son’s death.

He said: “He was a cheeky little monkey, always laughing with a cheeky smile. That's how I want to remember him.”

After the verdict Pendle MP Andrew Stephenson said: “I was appalled and angered when I first heard the details of toddler Charlie Hunt’s death.

"We owe it to Charlie to thoroughly investigate if his death could have been prevented and also what wider lessons we can learn from this tragic incident.”

A joint statement from Nigel Burke, independent chair of Lancashire Safeguarding Children Board, and Professor Nick Frost, independent chair of Bradford Safeguarding Children Board, said: “Shortly after this child’s tragic death, we commissioned a serious case review (SCR).

“Such reviews should be undertaken when a child dies and abuse or neglect is known or suspected to be a factor, to enable the professionals to look at their involvement and learn from the case.

"As part of the review, a detailed action plan was developed which is already being implemented by the agencies involved.

"The SCR has now been completed and assessed by Ofsted. It will be published in due course.”

The judge ordered that video clips should be preserved and considered by any parole board considering Newton’s release.


1. On 16 September 2003, following a trial at the Central Criminal Court before HH Judge James Stewart QC, the defendant was convicted of the murder of Paula Injai. The defendant was sentenced to life imprisonment and, in a report written to the Lord Chief Justice, the trial judge recommended that the defendant should serve a minimum period of 14 years. I am now required under sections 269 and 276 and Schedule 22 Criminal Justice Act 2003 to set the period to be served by the defendant before the early release provisions in section 28(5)-(8) Crime (Sentences) Act 1997 apply to him,

2. The defendant was born on 7 June 1963. On 8 January 2003 he had been separated from his second wife, the deceased, for about 4 months. He had previously been convicted of assaulting Mrs Injai and was the subject of a non-molestation order. Usually the deceased agreed to take their son Isaac to visit his father in a public place but on this occasion she was persuaded to take Isaac to the defendant’s flat. The defendant had decided to kill his wife. He told a work colleague the day before that he would hear all about it afterwards. When Mrs Injai arrived with Isaac the defendant attacked her with a knife to her neck. There were 67 sites of injury from the knife and a blunt instrument. His defence, rejected by the jury, was provocation arising from an alleged attack by the deceased upon him.

4. I have received, read and considered a victim impact statement from the deceased’s daughter, Sarah Sargeson, who at a young age has been required to cease her paid employment and take on the mothering role both for her full brother and for her half-brother, Isaac.

5. I have received a short letter from the defendant who expresses his remorse for his crime.

6. I should set the minimum term by reference to the transitional provisions contained in schedule 22 of the Criminal Justice Act 2003, in particular paragraphs 7 and 8. I may not, under paragraph 8, specify a part of the sentence which is greater than that which would have been notified under the practice followed by the Secretary of State before December 2002. The practice of the Secretary of State in considering murders committed between 31 May 2002 and 18 December 2003 was to follow recommendations made by the Lord Chief Justice in accordance with his Practice Statement of 31 May 2002. During that period there were ‘normal’ and ‘higher’ starting points set at 12 and 15/16 years which were varied according to features in aggravation and mitigation of the offence.

7. The starting point for this offence was 12 years. The offence was aggravated by (1) the planning which preceded it and (2) the course of conduct of which the killing was the culmination.
8. I agree with the opinion of the trial judge that the appropriate minimum term, which I now set, is 14 years less 8 months 6 days spent on remand awaiting trial.

9. The defendant should understand that this is not the maximum period he will serve. This is the period he must serve before he may be considered for parole. He will not be released if and while he remains an unacceptable risk to the public.

From Get Surrey

Warehouse worker Irenu Injai, 40, bit Paula Injai’s nose and shoulder and plunged the knife into her neck with such force the blade snapped.

He then ripped the wedding rings from her fingers and left his home in Woking, with his two-year-old child Isaac.

The Old Bailey heard how Injai had phoned up her new lover before the attack on January 8 this year to ask whether he had been having sex with his wife.

He was furious that his young son would have a new father figure because his first wife had also found a new man after they separated.

He had married Paula in 1999 but he left their home in Wimbledon Road, Camberley, after their separation in August 2002.

He was forbidden by court order from going within 500 yards of Paula’s house and would meet her to pick up his son at a local petrol station.

On January 7 Injai had told a colleague at a supermarket warehouse in Bracknell he could not afford the child support payments and was leaving work.

When asked what he meant, Injai allegedly replied: “Never you mind. Listen to the news or read about it.”

The next day, Paula, 36, went to the defendant’s home at Maybury Road with Isaac to tell him she had got together with new partner Glen Campbell.

She had received a text from her friend saying: Be strong, hope it all goes OK.

At around 10am that morning, neighbours heard screaming and a baby crying and Injai left his flat with his son later that morning.

He then made phone calls to her friends pretending not to know what had happened to her and turned up at a friend’s house with cuts to his hand.

Injai also admitted he had taken the wedding rings from his wife to sell to reduce his debt.

That evening police officers found Paula’s body lying beneath a duvet on a bed at Injai’s flat.

She had been stabbed four times in the neck, severing her major arteries, and human bite marks were found on her nose and shoulder.

Jurors saw gruesome pictures of the blood spattered and pooled on the walls, windows, carpet and curtains of the bedsit.

They found Injai guilty of murder by a unanimous verdict after only two hours deliberation.

Judge James Stewart, QC, jailed Injai for life condemning the “horrendous crime”.

“This was a brutal attack. The only sentence I can pass upon you is one of life imprisonment”.

Injai, of Maybury Road, Woking, had admitted manslaughter but denied murder.

He claimed he was provoked when Paula came at him with a knife.

After sentencing, Paula’s 19-year-old daughter, who did not want to be named, said: “My mum was a beautiful, loving and caring person who had a heart of gold. It is impossible to describe the tragedy he has caused our family.

“Although we are pleased with the court verdict, it will never bring back our mum, who we dearly miss.

“We would like to thank all the witnesses who gave evidence at court and the police for their hard work in this case and their support to our family.”

Det Chief Insp John Cox, who led the investigation, said: “The effects of murder are not limited simply to the victim. What is left behind is a trail of devastation in the lives of other people.

“Our sympathies in this case go particularly to Paula’s three children who have been deprived of their mother by this horrific act.”


1.   On 21 June 2002 at Luton Crown Court, Stephen McFaul and Anthony Cleaver were sentenced for the murder of Colin Ward.   McFaul was sentenced to imprisonment for life, and since Cleaver was not yet 21 years old, he was sentenced to custody for life.   Cleaver had pleaded not guilty to the murder, but was convicted by the jury.   McFaul had pleaded guilty to the murder.   I presided over their trial, and I subsequently recommended that McFaul should serve at least 15 years in custody, and Cleaver at least 13 years, before they could be released on licence.   The Lord Chief Justice, Lord Woolf, agreed with the recommendation for Cleaver, but he recommended that McFaul should also serve 13 years in custody before he could be released on licence.   He thought that greater credit should be given to McFaull for his plea of guilty. 

2.   Schedule 22 to the Criminal Justice Act 2003 (“the Act”) came into force on 18 December 2003. By then, the Home Secretary had not notified McFaul or Cleaver either of the minimum period which he thought they should serve before their release on licence or that he did not intend that they should ever be released on licence.   Accordingly, the Home Secretary referred their case to the High Court under para. 6 of Schedule 22 to the Act for the making of an order under sections 269(2) or 269(4) of the Act – in effect, an order that they should never be released on licence, or an order that their release on licence can be considered by the Parole Board after they have served a specified term in custody (“the minimum term”).   Section 270(1) of the Act requires me to give the reasons for such order as I make in ordinary language.
The facts:-

3.   Colin Ward was a 29 year old blind man who lived on his own in Luton.   On Friday 26 October 2001, he went to his local public house to celebrate his birthday.   He did not take his usual cab home.   It was not possible to trace his movements after he left the public house, but an hour or so after leaving it he was attacked in a car park a short distance from his home.   It was about 2.30 am. The men who attacked him were McFaul and Cleaver.   McFaull was 22 years old, and Cleaver was almost 20.
4.   At the time of the attack, McFaul and Cleaver were with two other youths (who were younger than them).   It was when the four of them were together that they came across Mr Ward.   The reason for the attack was that someone said that Mr Ward was a known sex offender.   It is not possible to say who said that.   It was untrue, but McFaul and Cleaver were not to know that.   Both of them claimed that they did not know that Mr Ward was blind.   That may be true, but the evidence was that he was stumbling around when they came across him.   Whether that was because he was disorientated (the taxi having failed to drop him off at the usual place) or because he had had too much to drink (as might have appeared to McFaul and Cleaver), anyone coming across him would have realised how vulnerable he was. 

5.   The form which the attack took was that Mr Ward was pushed to the ground.   While there he was kicked in the head a number of times, his head was stamped on and two bricks were thrown at his head.   He was in a coma for two months before contracting the bronchopneumonia from which he died.   The weight of the evidence suggested that McFaul was the more violent of the two, though it has to be said that that evidence came from one of the two youths and from what Cleaver told the police, and they would have had reason for wanting to minimise their own roles. 

6.   By his plea of guilty to murder, McFaul admitted his part in the attack on Mr Ward, but he claimed that the four of them had joined in the attack, and that Cleaver had been as violent as he had been.  A psychiatric report on him suggested that the dysfunctional environment in which he had been brought up, the history of sexual abuse to which he claimed to have been subjected when he was young, and his claim that his mother had been raped, had made him unusually hostile towards persons whom he believed were sex offenders, and particularly susceptible to being provoked into violent behaviour towards them.
7.   Cleaver’s case was that McFaul had been responsible on his own for the attack on Mr Ward.   He admitted simply to having punched Mr Ward twice in the face when he thought that Mr Ward was going to attack one of the two other youths.   However, when he had been interviewed, Cleaver had admitted having taken part in the attack on Mr Ward by kicking him while he was on the ground, although he also told the police that McFaul “did all the rest, he was mad, he was just mental, jumping on his head and everything”.   The jury’s verdict suggests that it was sure that at the very least Cleaver kicked Mr Ward in the head while Mr Ward was on the ground.

The appropriate minimum term:

8.   The minimum term which McFaul and Cleaver should serve must reflect the seriousness of their offence.   That involves choosing the appropriate starting point, and then taking into account any aggravating or mitigating factors to the extent that they were not allowed for in the choice of the appropriate starting point.
9.   Under the current law, the choice of the appropriate starting point is limited to a whole life order, 30 years or 15 years.   All murders involve the tragic loss of life, but the murder of Colin Ward did not come within any of the examples given in schedule 21 to the Act of cases for which a whole life order or a starting point of 30 years is appropriate.   That is not to say that the gratuitous violence used on a particularly defenceless man does not seriously aggravate the murder.   But it does not mean that the appropriate starting point for the minimum term in McFaul’s and Cleaver’s case should not be 15 years.
10.   The factors which aggravated the murder of Mr Ward were (i) his vulnerability, (ii) the lack of any real motive for the attack on him, (iii) the brutality and mindlessness of the attack (especially on the part of McFaul), and (iv) McFaul’s and Cleaver’s apparent unawareness at the time that they were doing anything wrong (even though by the time of their sentence they were said to be expressing contrition).   In addition, McFaul had a previous conviction for violence, namely the unlawful wounding of his son, by shaking him severely when he would not quiet down, as a result of which the baby sustained significant brain damage, for which McFaul was sentenced to 15 months’ imprisonment, the killing of Mr Ward occurring less than two months after his release from prison. 

11.   However, there were a number of factors which mitigated their murder of Mr Ward.   First, I do not think that they intended to kill him:  they merely intended to cause him really serious bodily injury. Secondly, the attack on Mr Ward was not planned.   It was McFaul’s spontaneous reaction to hearing that Mr Ward was supposed to be a sex offender which Cleaver decided to join.   Thirdly, Cleaver was relatively young at the time, and although he was unable to express contrition at the trial in the light of the nature of his defence, I felt throughout that he deeply regretted what had happened to Mr Ward.   Fourthly, McFaul pleaded guilty to murder (something which his counsel said was a difficult thing to do), but I am unable to tell whether that was because he was genuinely contrite or whether it represented a real assessment of the strength of the evidence against him.   Balancing all these factors, the minimum term which would now be set in their cases would be in the region of 14-15 years.
12.   But the minimum term which I must set may not be any longer than the minimum term which would have been set by the Home Secretary under the practice which the Home Secretary would have followed at the time.   Recommendations by the trial judge and the Lord Chief Justice were then based on the guidance given by the then Lord Chief Justice, Lord Bingham, in a letter he sent to judges on 10 February 1997.   But as his successor, Lord Woolf, said in Sullivan [2004] EWHC Crim 1762, the Home Secretary fixed the minimum term in accordance with the recommendation of the trial judge and the Lord Chief Justice “in the great majority of cases”.   There is nothing in this case which suggests that this would have been one of those exceptional cases in which the Home Secretary would have differed from the view expressed by Lord Woolf.   I conclude therefore that the minimum term which would have been set by the Home Secretary under the practice which he would have followed at the time would have been 13 years for both McFaul and Cleaver.  

13.   Finally, from the minimum term of 13 years which they must serve, there must be deducted the time which they spent on remand in custody prior to sentence.   That period was 7 months and 10 days in the case of McFaul and 7 months and 18 days in the case of Cleaver. 


14.   I therefore order that the early release provisions in sections 28(5)-(8) of the Crime (Sentences) Act 1997 apply to McFaul and Cleaver as soon as they have served 12 years 4 months and 20 days and 12 years 4 months and 12 days of their respective sentences.   That is the minimum term which I set for their cases.

From Free Library

TWO men were jailed for life at the weekend for the murder of a blind Irishman last year.

Colin Ward, 29, from Castleblayney, Co Monaghan, who was living in Luton, was returning from birthday celebrations when he was set upon.

Luton Crown Court heard how he was beaten and left unconscious on the street near his flat.

His attackers punched and kicked him and bashed his head with bricks while he was lying on the ground. They then stole his wallet.

Mr Ward remained in a coma for a month and died without regaining consciousness at the London Royal Free Hospital last December.

Stephen McFaul, 22, from Luton, pleaded guilty to the murder but Anthony Cleaver, 21, also from Luton, denied the charge.

Sentencing, Mr Justice Keith said: "This was a vicious, mindless and brutal attack on a blind man who was totally vulnerable."

Mr Ward's brother Peter said: "We are still trying to come to terms with what happened."