Murder trial brothers await sentence: Stephen Ward reports from Jersey on the outcome of a saga of violence and deception

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The Independent Online
THE FINAL chapter of a seven- year murder mystery is reached today when the two sons of a dead couple are sentenced at the Royal Court in St Helier, Jersey.

One book has already been printed on the case, which has combined parricide and rich society on the Channel Islands and Britain with hugely expensive international police operations. At least two more books are awaiting today's verdicts before going to press.

Roderick Newall, 29, a former lieutenant in the Royal Green Jackets, has admitted bludgeoning his mother and father to death after a drunken family dinner, and is likely to receive a life sentence. His younger brother Mark, 28, a Eurobond dealer - who has pleaded guilty to helping dispose of the bodies, and shielding Roderick from the police - faces a sentence of up to eight years. Both will serve their sentences in prisons in England; Jersey has no jails suitable for long-term prisoners.

Nicholas Newall, 56, and Elizabeth Newall, 47, disappeared on Saturday 10 October 1987 after dining with Mark and Roderick. For years both sons insisted to police they had returned for lunch at their parents' home on the Sunday, then left the island.

In January 1991, the Jersey authorities formally declared the parents dead, and the two sons inherited the estate - a house in Jersey, a yacht, and a property in Spain.

The bodies were not found until November 1993, when Roderick was brought back to the island after being arrested on his yacht off Tangiers. He led police to the spot where the brothers had buried their parents. Mark was extradited from France on a murder charge which was later dropped in favour of the lesser charges.

There may still be a postscript to the case if the brothers' right to inherit their parents' money is contested. The probate registrar will be waiting for direction from the court after sentence is passed before deciding whether there are grounds to stop some of the inheritance on the grounds that the brothers lied to the hearing which declared their parents dead.

The end of the case is likely to prompt renewed questions about police handling of the case. There were only ever two suspects, yet they took weeks even to be sure there had been a murder, and years to get convictions.

(Photographs omitted)