Child protection civil servant jailed for killing teenager

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The Independent Online

A bitter and twisted civil servant in the Government's Safeguarding Children unit in Whitehall was jailed for at least 24 years today for killing his former lover's son.

Gerard Tony Paul, 46, inflicted 116 injuries on university student Michael Jones, 18, at his home and and left him for his mother to find.

Paul, of Enfield, north London, struck in March after Kathy Kirby-Jones called off their romance.

Old Bailey judge John Bevan told Paul the "brutal and remorseless" attack was an act of vengeance on a studious and mild-mannered boy who he saw as an obstacle in his way".

Judge Bevan said the irony of Paul working as a middle-ranking civil servant responsible for the child protection database at the Department for Children, Schools and Families would not be lost on all concerned.

Paul, of Gilbert Street, Enfield, north London, was found guilty of murder last week. He was jailed for life with a minimum term of 24 years.

Michael, of Edmonton, north London, was studying for a degree in geography at Queen Mary College, University of London.

Ms Kirby-Jones said in an impact statement that Michael had been a role model for other black youths.

She said: "He was a high achiever, winning many accolades. In times where there are so many negative images of black male youths, he was such a positive role model."

Judge Bevan told Paul: "You are boastful and a compulsive liar.

"You were playing with Kathy Kirby-Jones's emotions and lying to her. I think you were after her money and Michael was an obstacle."

Ms Kirby-Jones, a hospital personal assistant, returned home to find the bloody body of mild-mannered Michael in a room they used as an office.

After hearing footsteps at the house in Edmonton, north London, she barricaded herself in the room as Paul tried to force the door open before fleeing.

Brian Altman, QC, prosecuting, told the Old Bailey: "Ms Kirby-Jones might have been the next victim, had she not resisted.

"This was a deliberate, planned and coolly executed murder in cold blood by a bitter, twisted man at the conclusion of a relationship where his ambitions had been thwarted.

"The defendant was well aware of the close relationship between Ms Kirby-Jones and Michael, and that Michael had become an unwelcome obstacle to the success of the relationship."

He added: "Michael Jones was universally liked. He was mild-mannered, quiet and unassuming. He had no enemies."

Items of jewellery, including a ring and a crucifix on a gold chain, had been taken from his body.

Mr Altman said: "This was a shocking murder. Michael had been stabbed in a frenzied and brutal attack which left him with the most appalling mutilating injuries."

The student was tied up with brown parcel tape around his wrists, hands, knees and ankles.

He said Paul and Ms Kirby-Jones had a year-long relationship which had "gone sour" and ended the month before.

Divorcee Ms Kirby-Jones, 45, told the court: "When I saw my son, I screamed his name. I bent over my son and tried to shake him.

"I heard footsteps running down the stairs from his bedroom. I put my body against the door and someone tried to push the door open.

"I grabbed a chair and stuck it under the door handle to help keep it shut."

She said of Paul: "He said he loved me and it made me feel uncomfortable. I didn't respond back.

"It came up constantly. He wanted me to say I loved him. He wanted more than I was prepared to give."

She added: "My son felt uncomfortable. He felt Tony Paul made himself too comfortable."

She asked him to visit less because her son objected. But Paul "was not happy. He complained frequently", she said.

Judge Bevan praised Ms Kirby-Jones's courage in giving evidence.

He said: "She at least has the knowledge he was a real credit to her."

Detective Chief Inspector John Macdonald said outside court: "Michael was just 18 years old, a hard-working student, and he had a great future ahead of him.

"Tony Paul is a coward. Despite working as a middle-ranking civil servant for many years, he had wasted his money away.

"Why he resorted to killing Michael and inflicting such horrendous injuries can have only been out of pure spite and vindictiveness."