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Stephen Weeks and Drew Thorpe were found guilty by a jury at Warwick Crown Court after a five week trial.

These are the faces of two men sentenced to life following the murder of ‘lovable rogue’ Lee Brooks.

Stephen Weeks, 48, and Drew Thorpe, 19, were told on Thursday by a Crown Court judge that they would spend at least 16 years and 12 years in prison respectively.

The pair were found guilty by a jury at Warwick Crown Court after a five week trial.

The pair attacked Mr Brooks with a claw hammer and a spanner while he slept at Weeks’ home in Hugh Road during the morning of August 26, 2016.

Stephen Weeks (left) and Drew Thorpe (right)

Stephen Weeks (left) and Drew Thorpe (right)

Despite the best efforts of the emergency services and medical staff, he died five days later in hospital.

Weeks, of Hugh Road, Stoke, and Thorpe, of Hollis Road, Stoke, had denied murder.

Sentencing judge Richard Griffith-Jones said: “I am acutely aware of the terrible shock that it is when a loved one dies suddenly.

“When that happens in circumstances of this brutality it is all the more shocking. So also is it a terrible thing for a person to outlive their own child.

“I hope they will be able to pass onto Lee Brooks’ children memories of him and his character which will be so important…that they will be able to have affection and pride in the person that gave them life that is no longer there.”
Coventry Telegraph

In a quiet cul-de-sac off Beverley Road, a neighbour peered over her garden wall into the back yard of 7 May Street.

She could hardly believe her eyes, but there appeared to be a foot sticking out from under a duvet.

The woman called police, reporting what appeared to be a body in next door’s yard.

She did not know there were in fact two, and she had stumbled upon the scene of East Yorkshire’s first double murder for nearly 20 years.

He had long since fled, but Phillip Simmons, 38, one of several residents at the privately rented property, had turned 7 May Street into a house of horrors.

The burly and intimidating 16.5st thug had murdered housemate Daniel Hatfield, 52, who weighed just 6st, and his friend Matthew Higgins, 49, who was only paying him a visit.

It may never be known who was killed first, but Simmons told police it was Mr Hatfield, which would mean Mr Higgins was simply in the wrong place at the wrong time.

For after attacking his first victim in the kitchen, and continuing the assault with a variety of weapons after dragging him into the yard, Simmons walked back into the house and found the second man standing in the kitchen.

He took a “calculated”, instant decision to kill him too, later telling police: “I thought that I had no choice, I’m gonna have to do him as well.

The two murders were almost identical, involving beating and the use of multiple weapons.

It was a grim task that befell the officer who had to remove the duvet.

But in an exclusive interview with the Mail, the officer who led the inquiry revealed that other potential victims crossed Simmons’s path, and may have been lucky to escape with their lives.

After the second killing, Simmons walked back into the house and found someone else in the kitchen, a woman who also lived there.

The killer decided to leave.

Detective Chief Inspector Tony Cockerill said she may be “simply lucky to be alive, considering the mindset of Simmons at the time, having just murdered two men who were no threat to him, one after the other.

“He’d reached a tipping point in his life where he’d committed these crimes.

“He had nothing to lose and could see where this would end up, and that was prison for the rest of his life.”

Simmons was on the run, but he was already a suspect and evidence was being quickly gathered against him.

He dumped his trainers in the bin at a “local address”, but these were recovered.

As well as retrieving forensic evidence from the scene and making inquiries locally, police continued filling in any gaps in their knowledge even after Simmons was arrested.

Det Chief Insp Cockerill said: “We spent some considerable time creating a timeline between the murders and his arrest to help us understand what had happened and where our evidential opportunities lay.”

It is thought Simmons spent just two days at large before he was arrested after a robbery at a Betfred bookmakers in Preston Road, east Hull, from which he hoped to fund his flight from justice.

Simmons, whom police describe as “a physically imposing, large man”, threatened the manager with a broken bottle, and demanded money.

Police say the manager was wise not to have challenged Simmons, handing over the £2,800 he took.

Det Chief Insp Cockerill said: “It was that decision and good fortune that he was not seriously injured, or worse, because Simmons knew what he’d done, he knew he was wanted, he had nothing to lose, and he’s an extremely violent and volatile individual.

“Simmons is capable of remarkable levels of violence.”

The officer said it is one of the worst cases he has seen.

“I’ve seen worse injuries,” he said, “but to have one after the other in such a premeditated way, which for me is an illustration and indication of where he was psychologically at the time, where he’s thinking that’s a rational decision, where a man has used horrendous levels of violence in two murders, is shocking.”

Det Chief Insp Cockerill praised relatives of the victims for the dignity they showed in court yesterday, when Simmons admitted two counts of murder and robbery.

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Judge Jeremy Richardson QC told the killer: “Phillip Simmons, you have pleaded guilty to two exceptionally serious crimes, and the crime of robbery.

“In respect of the murder convictions, there is but one sentence I shall be passing in due course, and that is a life sentence incumbent on each of the two counts.

“The only issue for determination is the minimum term that should be served in this case.

“There is an argument that I should impose a whole life term, but cogent arguments have been advanced as to why I should not take that course.

“I make it clear at this juncture I have not made any decision.

“At present I keep an open mind, but it is only right that I should indicate that I take, of course, an exceptionally serious view of such an exceptionally serious case.”

Hull Daily Mail

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A MAN has today (Wednesday) been jailed for life to serve a minimum of 21 years for murdering a father who was falsely accused of being a paedophile in Pitsea.

Chris Carroll, 20, of Pevensey Close, Pitsea, was sentenced following a six-week trial at Chelmsford Crown Court, having been convicted of Darren Kelly’s murder yesterday.

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Darren Kelly, of Voysey Gardens, Pitsea, was stabbed after being lured to Caister Drive on 20 October last year. Despite members of the public giving the 42-year-old first aid, he later died at Basildon Hospital.

Two boys aged 16 and 17 and a 15-year-old girl, all from Pitsea, also standing trial were found not guilty of murder.

The teenage girl had arranged to meet Mr Kelly via a messaging app.

But Mr Kelly had thought he had been speaking to a woman and there was no evidence that he was interested in underage girls.

He was chased and assaulted, before Carroll stabbed him several times.

The court heard attempts had been made to dispose of the evidence.

Carroll had thrown his hooded top into a wheeled bin in St Mary’s Crescent, Pitsea, and the murder weapon, a hunting knife, into Opal Lake near Burnt Mills Road.

Forensic tests confirmed the knife was the murder weapon and had also been used to slash the tyres of Mr Kelly’s car, which was parked in Edinburgh Way.

Speaking after the hearing, senior investigating officer Detective Chief Inspector Stephen Jennings, of the Kent and Essex Serious Crime Directorate, said: “While nothing will bring Darren back, we hope the verdict will help give his family some closure so they can move forward.

“Darren was viciously attacked and lost his life due to the completely unfounded belief that he intended to meet an underage girl.

“Essex Police strongly deter anyone from vigilante behaviour at any level. They could be acting upon inaccurate information and putting innocent people at serious risk.

“Anyone who has a genuine concern about potential criminal activity should always contact us so that we can investigate and not take the law into their own hands.

“I also want to reassure the residents of Basildon that knife crime is an issue that we take extremely seriously and we remain committed to putting offenders before the courts and working with our partners to make our communities safer.”

The Enquirer

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Michael McDougall was convicted of blasting popular Tipu Sultan to death from point-blank range with a sawn-off shotgun at his shop in South Shields

Gunned down Tipu Sultan’s murderer must serve at least 34 years behind bars after a jury convicted him of killing the popular takeaway boss.

Michael McDougall blasted the 32-year-old dad-of-two in the neck from point-blank range with a sawn-off shotgun at his shop in South Shields, in front of his dad.

A jury at Newcastle Crown Court on Tuesday found McDougall guilty of murder, while co-accused Michael Mullen was cleared of murder but convicted of manslaughter.

McDougall was jailed for life with a minimum of 34 years, while Mullen was locked up for 12 years.

McDougall, 47, was told by trial judge Mrs Justice Thirwall to stop shaking his head at the jury after they convicted him.

And after finding out he will be an old man before he has any chance of freedom, the remorseless killer asked the judge: “Can you not suspend mine for 12 months please?”

Sentencing him, Mrs Justice Thirlwall said: “In early April last year you got hold of a sawn-off shotgun and you were going to use it to kill a man.

“What reason you had for that, I don’t know, I doubt you will ever say. You planned the killing and recruited Mullen as your getaway driver.

“The killing took place at 10pm. Very young teenagers were out playing, a lot on their bikes, playing team tig. Some were scarcely feet away.

“What they witnessed will stay with them for the rest of their lives.

“He had no prospect of withstanding that lethal attack. He died at the scene. His father, who was standing close to his son when he was shot, witnessed his killing.

“No words can adequately describe the terror and horror he experienced.”

The judge said Mullen was recruited as getaway driver by older, more heavily convicted criminal, McDougall, for what he thought was a robbery and was unaware McDougall was armed with a shotgun.

The judge told Mullen: “You did not intend Tipu Sultan to be shot and killed or caused any serious injury and you believed you were assisting a violent criminal in the commission of a robbery.”

Tipu was cleaning at his Herbs and Spice shop in South Shields when his killer came to the back door one night last April.

No clear motive for the attack had been established but prosecutors said it had the hallmarks of a targeted killing.

Mahsum Sultan, Tipi’s brother, read a victim impact statement to the court on behalf of the family.

He said: “The violent way Tipu was taken away from us has changed our lives beyond recognition.

“Our family is now broken and the pain felt by his loss can’t be put into words.

“No children should ever lose their father at the age of seven and two years old.

“Tipu’s death has put a great emotional strain on our family.

“Our parents no longer sleep properly, Tipu is constantly on their minds.

“My father will never get over the trauma of his son being murdered in front of him but he carries on for the sake of his family.

“My family depended on Tipu for everything, my mother is now always anxious.

“Tipu was not only the provider for his family but the protector of his family and children.

“Tipu lived for his children and was a wonderful father. His daughter was his princess.

“Knowing Tipu will never see his children grow up is really hard to bear.”

McDougall, of Hylton Avenue, South Shields, was found guilty of murder and two counts of possessing a firearm with intent.

Mullen, 25, of Hawthorne Avenue, South Shields, was found not guilty of murder, guilty of manslaughter, not guilty of possessing a firearm with intent and not guilty of conspiracy to pervert the course of justice.

After the case, Mahsum added in a statement on behalf of the family: “We will always remember Tipu as the wonderful father, son, brother and husband he was.

“We all talk about Tipu to his children every day and they will always know how much he loved them and cared for them. It brings us all some happiness to be around the children who have their father’s looks and personality.

“As a family, we would all like to thank all the witnesses that have come forward in this case, in particular the young witnesses who gave evidence. We know this must have been very difficult for you all but we are hugely grateful for your contribution to today’s verdict.

“We have been praying for justice and today we welcome the outcome. It brings a small amount of closure and peace of mind to help us move on with our lives.”

Det Ch Insp John Bent said: “We are pleased with today’s verdict. These men will behind bars for a very long time for the cold and brutal murder of a much loved member of the community.

“Our thoughts remain with Tipu’s family at this time. I hope that today’s verdict brings some justice to them however they have lost a much loved brother, son, husband and father and they have to live with that for the rest of their lives.”

Supt Sarah Pitt added: “The tragic death of Tipu Sultan had a significant impact for the people of Sunderland and South Shields and the Bangladeshi community here. We work closely with our communities to ensure their concerns and issues are listened to and action taken to help reassure our residents.

“I want to thank the Bangladeshi community in Sunderland and South Shields for their dignity and patience throughout this investigation and I hope today’s outcome helps bring some solace and closure for them.”

Newcastle Chronicle

A VIOLENT EDL thug who slashed a man’s throat has been convicted of murdering a Bradford grandfather.

A jury of seven men and five women has returned its unanimous verdict following a two-week trial at Bradford Crown Court.

Clement ‘Butch’ Desmier, 68, was murdered at his home in Rowlestone Rise, Greengates, on August 23, 2012.

Today, his family said the death and what he must have suffered in his final moments would haunt them forever.

During the trial, forensic pathologist Dr Christopher Johnson said the cause of death was multiple injuries, including stab wounds.

Dr Johnson said it was highly likely Mr Desmier’s injuries – which included 60 penetrative puncture wounds to his body from a screwdriver and a single typical knife stab wound to his abdomen – were inflicted while he was sat in his armchair, in the front room of his home.

Killer David Lawler, formerly of Central Avenue, Shipley, was also today found guilty of two counts of intimidation, relating to a witness who gave evidence.

The 33-year-old, who was wearing a grey suit, pale blue shirt and blue spotted tie, showed no emotion as the verdicts were given, but there were cries of ‘yes’ from the public gallery.

Co-accused Nathan Jefferson, 20, of Springwell View, Holbeck, Leeds, admitted the murder charge before the start of the trial.

Mr Justice Blake said both men would be sentenced on Wednesday, March 23.

Earlier in the trial Lawler had admitted to the jury that he was an EDL thug who had also slit a man’s throat, but denied the murder.

“Butch was well known in his local community and should have been celebrating his 72nd birthday this month with family and friends.

“I hope that the successful conclusion of this case today will finally provide Butch’s family and friends with some closure to what has been a very traumatic time for them.”

A statement from the Desmier family, said: “Today sees the end of a three and a half year agonising wait to identify those responsible for the brutal murder of our father.

“The loss of our father has had a devastating impact on our lives. The fact that he was a vulnerable old age pensioner, viciously attacked in his own home with weapons, will haunt us all for the rest of our lives.

“Two ruthless individuals with no regard for life ripped our lives apart that day and we will never recover from that.

“We would like to praise the brave individuals that came forward and provided information to the police investigation about Lawler and Jefferson’s involvement. Their courage assisted with the conviction of these two individuals which will hopefully allow our father to finally rest in peace.

“We would also like to thank West Yorkshire Police for their unrelenting determination to bring those responsible to justice. They have been an immense support to our family throughout this difficult time. They never gave up and for that we will be forever grateful.”

Telegraph and Argus

A man has been found guilty of murdering a pensioner who was stabbed to death in a brutal attack.

David Lawler was convicted of killing Clement “Butch” Desmier, 68, who died after sustaining more than 60 injuries.

Mr Desmier was found dead at his home in Bradford in August 2012 after being stabbed with a screwdriver and a knife.

Lawler, 33, formerly of Central Avenue, Shipley, was found guilty at Bradford Crown Court of murder and two counts of intimidating a witness.

Nathan Jefferson, 20, of Springwell View, Holbeck, Leeds, admitted murdering Mr Desmier, of Rowlestone Rise, Greengates, before the trial began.

A family statement said: “The loss of our father has had a devastating impact on our lives.

“The fact that he was a vulnerable old age pensioner, viciously attacked in his own home with weapons, will haunt us all for the rest of our lives.

“Two ruthless individuals with no regard for life ripped our lives apart that day and we will never recover from that.”

The family also praised the courage of individuals that provided information to the police about Lawler and Jefferson’s involvement.

Det Ch Supt Mark Ridley said it had been a lengthy and complex investigation into a “brutal and sustained attack on a vulnerable, elderly man”.

The court was told it was likely Mr Desmier’s injuries were inflicted as he was sitting in his armchair.

Both defendants are due to be sentenced on 23 March.

BBC News

Robert Ewing (left) murdered Paige and Gareth Dewhurst was found guilty of helping to dispose of her body

Robert Ewing (left) murdered Paige and Gareth Dewhurst was found guilty of helping to dispose of her body

Robert Ewing sentenced to life imprisonment for murdering 15-year-old in Blackpool to stop her reporting their sexual contact to police

A man who murdered a 15-year-old girl to stop her reporting their sexual contact has been sentenced to life imprisonment, with a minimum of 33 years in prison.

Robert Ewing, 60, exploited Paige Chivers, a vulnerable teenager from Blackburn, Lancashire, for his sexual gratification and then decided to silence her when she threatened to go to the authorities.

A jury convicted him of murder earlier this month, but was not told that Ewing had previous convictions for child sex abuse.

Ewing served a 12-month prison sentence in 1995 for gross indecency with a 13-year-old girl, whom he also indecently assaulted.

Justice Jeremy Baker, sentencing Ewing at Preston crown court, told him he had carried out a “carefully planned and executed murder” to avoid the prospect of returning to jail.

The body of the teenager has still not been found, nearly eight years after she went missing.

Mr Justice Baker said Paige’s life was “in turmoil” in the summer of 2007 after her mother had died in February that year and her late father’s addiction to alcohol had worsened to the extent that he largely abandoned her.

He said she was “sexually promiscuous” and an “easy target”, which was recognised by Ewing, whose flat near her home in Bispham became “something of a magnet” for young girls as he allowed them to smoke, drink alcohol and take drugs.

The judge said: “There came a point when Paige Chivers realised that she could manipulate the situation to her advantage and threatened to report you to the authorities … the last thing you wanted to occur was for the public authorities to be acquainted with what you had been doing.”

Less than a fortnight before Paige went missing, Ewing contacted police to tell them that a “problem child” had turned up on his doorstep, having been thrown out by her father.

Prosecutors said he was effectively “testing the water” and there had been “very little reaction” by officials.

The judge, who labelled the defendant intelligent and devious, said he also wanted to create an “innocent cover story”. He told the court that the precise circumstances of Paige’s death may never be known in the absence of any explanation from Ewing, but noted that Ewing had been heard in a covert police recording saying: “You don’t mess with me. Quick hammer over the fucking head, then they will be sorry.”

Only three tiny spots of blood belonging to Paige were found by police in inner hallway of his flat in All Hallows Road, after a meticulous clean-up by the defendant.

On August 23 2007, Paige packed two carrier bags with clothes and left her home in Longford Avenue, Bispham, after a row with her father over missing money. Later the same day she was spotted at a nearby bus stop with the defendant. An extensive proof of life inquiry followed her disappearance but found no evidence that Paige was alive and she never claimed a “significant” inheritance left to her after her mother’s death.

Ewing murdered her between August 23 and August 27 and then persuaded his friend, Gareth Dewhurst, 46, to use his car to dispose of the body. The judge said Dewhurst had been a “willing, if not enthusiastic, participant”. Dewhurst, of Duncan Avenue, Blackpool, was jailed for seven years for assisting an offender and an additional year for intending to pervert the course of justice by intimidating witnesses.

Ewing, of Kincraig Place, Blackpool, was also convicted of perverting the course of justice by intimidating witnesses and providing false information to the police.
Both men denied all the offences.

The teenager was described as “a fun-loving kid, bright and funny” in a victim impact statement from sister Madison Gordon, which was read out in court.

She said: “Paige was only a kid when her mum (Sheila) passed away in 2007. I would say it broke us. I think it hit Paige hard because of her age.
“Every birthday is a reminder that Paige is no longer with us to open her cards and to celebrate with her.”

She thought Paige would have gone on to study hair and beauty and would have been “a brilliant mum”. She added: “Not a day goes by that we don’t think about her. It should not have happened to my bonny outgoing sister. We all have big holes in our hearts that can no longer be replaced.”

Police say they remain committed to finding Paige’s body.

The Guardian