Brothers jailed for murder of parents

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The Independent Online
TWO BROTHERS were jailed yesterday for their parts in killing their parents at the family home in Jersey, then covering up the crime to avoid detection for seven years.

Roderick and Mark Newall, who were 22 and 21 when their parents were bludgeoned to death in October 1987, inherited pounds 900,000 from Nicholas Newall, 56, and Elizabeth Newall, 47.

A large crowd gathered yesterday in St Helier to see the conclusion of a saga which has intrigued the island. There were gasps and jeering as the brothers, handcuffed to police officers, were led to a police van.

Roderick Newall, 28, a former British army officer who pleaded guilty to double murder, was sentenced to life imprisonment by the Royal Court of Jersey, though with no recommendation for a minimum term. Sir Peter Crill, the Bailiff, said: 'Throughout the ages the crimes of patricide and matricide have attracted particular odium. This court shares that view.'

His younger brother, Mark, 27, a eurobond dealer with an Arab bank in Paris, was jailed for six years after admitting helping to hide the bodies and covering up his brother's crime. Although Roderick had pleaded guilty to the double murder, he had claimed the killings were triggered by a drunken heated argument with his father 'in which many old wounds were reopened'.

But the Jersey Attorney General, Michael Birt, told the court yesterday: 'There is strong evidence to suggest that the murders did not occur on the spur of the moment as he suggests.'

He had first hit his father on the front of the head with one weapon, then 'struck his father repeatedly on the head whilst he was lying stunned or unconscious on the ground' with a second weapon which was 'heavy, with a cutting edge'.

'He also struck his mother repeatedly on the head with sufficient force to kill her when she too must have been lying on the ground.'

Mr Birt said Mark Newall's offences had 'led to a murderer escaping justice for six years'. He said it might well have meant no one being brought to justice for the murders.

In Jersey there is no law preventing criminals profiting from their crimes. Roderick is likely to have to wait at least a decade to enjoy his inheritance, but Mark, who has already served 17 months while awaiting trial, may, with remission, be released in two years. Both will serve their sentences in England because there are no long- stay jails on the island.

Advocate David Le Quesne, for the sons, said Roderick had been in the army, and if he had planned a murder it would have been better arranged. 'This rings true of a sudden terrible violent episode resulting from a frenzy fuelled by drink and provoked by his father pushing him over.'

Pleading for leniency for Mark Newall, he said he had helped his brother because he believed it was the only way to stop him committing suicide.

Fatal flaw, pages 2 and 3

(Photograph omitted)