Life for vandal who kicked man to death: Two teenagers to be held indefinitely

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The Independent Online
ONE OF the three vandals convicted of the murder of Les Reed was yesterday ordered to be detained for life.

The two others who kicked Mr Reed to death when he challenged them for wrecking a traffic bollard in Ely, Cardiff, were sentenced to be detained indefinitely.

At Cardiff Crown Court the judge, Mr Justice Scott Baker, said they had set upon the public-spirited Mr Reed 'like a pack of wild animals'.

He added: ''Too many young people these days arrogantly seek to dominate their communities by their aggressive and physical presence.'

The judge said the horrific killing had caused revulsion. There was no reason why the vast majority of decent local residents should have to put up with such behaviour.

The judge lifted an order banning the identification of 17-year-olds Shane Hutchinson and Andrew Thomas, both of Ely, who were on Monday convicted of Mr Reed's murder. He sentenced them to be detained at Her Majesty's pleasure. Stephen James, 20, was given custody for life for his part in the murder.

A fourth man, Michael Mundell, 20, found guilty of manslaughter but cleared of murder, will be sentenced later after reports.

James, Hutchinson and Thomas all received eight-year concurrent terms for grievous bodily harm to Philip Tull, Mr Reed's life-long friend.

As they were led away from the dock, the three men showed no emotion and just gazed at the floor.

Mr Reed, 45, a father-of- three, was kicked to death and beaten so savagely that his injuries made him look like a car crash victim. Members of 'The Avenue Gang' turned on him after he and Mr Tull remonstrated with them for kicking a broken traffic bollard around in the road.

Mr Reed, a disabled former steelworker, was walking home with Mr Tull from a night at a social club last June when they were attacked after telling the youths to 'give the neighbours a bit of peace'.

Mr Tull suffered broken ribs and a fractured jaw. Mr Reed suffered 55 separate injuries as the gang kicked and stamped on his head. One kick was so severe it stretched his spinal cord. His widow, Linda, 44, was in court to hear the judge pass the sentences.

Mrs Reed later welcomed the terms imposed. 'I feel now that justice has been done. It is more than I hoped for,' she said.

'Hopefully, these long sentences will mean that boys will think before they do any more damage. We are all fed up with the vandals and the gangs, because there are a lot of good people on the Ely estate.'

It was revealed in court that three of the gang members already had several violencerelated convictions.

James had six previous convictions, including one for violent disorder; Hutchinson six convictions, including two of threatening behaviour; and Thomas three convictions, including the unlawful wounding of Mr Reed's son, Martin, two years ago.

Martin, now 19, who was viciously kicked and punched by Thomas, said later: 'I remember the fear of looking into his eyes and just seeing them light up. It was just so scary.

'I think they got what they deserved. I feel reassured now that they are not going to be let out on the streets again.' The Reed family now plans to move from the Ely estate.

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