Teenagers who beat 'courageous' father to death outside his home jailed for life

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The Independent Online

The three teenagers convicted of the murder of Garry Newlove, the 47-year-old father beaten to death outside his family home, have been jailed for life.

Mr Newlove, a sales manager who had three children, was attacked by a gang he had confronted about vandalism to his wife Helen's car in Warrington, Cheshire, in August last year.

Adam Swellings, 19, Stephen Sorton, 17, and Jordan Cunliffe, 16, were found guilty at Chester Crown Court last month.

Yesterday, Swellings, of Crewe, was set a minimum 17-year term; Sorton, 15 years; and Cunliffe, a minimum of 12 years. Both were fromWarrington.

Judge Andrew Smith told them: "You were three of a gang who attacked Garry Newlove only because he had the courage to remonstrate with you. For you, all drunken aggression was part of the night's entertainment. You three were only so brave because you outnumbered him many times over." The judge also praised Mr Newlove's daughters, who had been forced to watch their father die and had given evidence. During the six-week trial, the court was told that Mr Newlove had been kicked "like a football" after confronting the gang, who had kicked the door of his wife's car.

After the guilty verdicts, the court also learnt that Swellings, who went by the nickname of Swellhead, had been released on police bail just hours before the attack with one condition being that he was to stay out of Warrington. But he met Sorton and Cunliffe, and they drank strong lager and cider and smoked cannabis. Egged on by his friends, Swellings threw the first punch, knocking Mr Newlove to the ground.

Sorton, who had drunk nine or 10 bottles of Stella Artois lager and one three-litre bottle of Frosty Jack's cider, then kicked Mr Newlove so hard he left his training shoe under the victim's body. Cunliffe, who was 15 then, later boasted to other gang members: "We've just banged a man and he's not moving."

Mrs Newlove, 44, who has pledged to campaign to make Britain's streets safer, said: "I am determined to carry on for the sake of my wonderful husband Garry. He will not have died in vain."

Mrs Newlove was in court yesterday, with their daughters Zoe, 18, Danielle, 16, and Amy, 13, and wept as the sentences were read out. She heard Mr Justice Smith describe her husband as a "courageous and devoted family man, who paid with his life".

He added: "The attack was seen by Mr Newlove's three daughters. They did all anyone could have done to help. Nobody who saw them during the trial could fail to have been touched and impressed by the simple and straightforward decency, I can't find a better word for it. Everybody in court would have understood why Garry Newlove would have been so proud of them."

After the sentencing, Detective Inspector Geoff Elvey of Cheshire Police said: "I don't believe any of the defendants have shown remorse but they will have time to reflect." He added: "We all have a role as parents in the community to engage with our children and educate them about this type of conduct."