Teenagers jailed for life for ‘barbaric’ murder

Two teenagers have been jailed for life after admitting the murder of a Kirklees man in offences described as ‘barbaric’ by senior West Yorkshire Police officers.

ONE of the investigating team said the vile pair “committed acts which were among the worst that I and other members of my team have witnessed in our policing careers” after they viciously attacked the deceased and another man with a sword.

Kiyran Earnshaw (18) of Field Lane, Batley, and Luke Gaukroger (16) from Arthur Street, Huddersfield were both sentenced at Leeds Crown Court on Wednesday, September 2, after pleading guilty to the murder of Robert Wilson (53) in Linthwaite on January 16, 2020.

Earnshaw also pleaded guilty to a Section 18 assault on John Badejo, another victim of the incident.

Earnshaw was sentenced to life with a minimum term of 21 years and 140 days for the murder and nine years for the Section 18 assault to run concurrently while Gaukroger was sentenced to life with a minimum jail term of 16 years and 17 days.

Officers were called to the Thornton and Ross premises in Linthwaite at 11.45pm on January 16, following a report that a serious assault on two males was taking place.

Police attended and quickly located the two defendants who were attacking Mr Wilson.

Both fled but were swiftly detained and medical attention was provided to the victim.

Despite this however, it was quickly apparent he had already suffered none survivable injuries.

Following enquiries it was determined the sentenced males had entered the site with teenage friends and were in a smoking shelter when Mr Wilson and two colleagues including Mr Badejo, walked towards them.

They advised Earnshaw, Gaukroger and the others that they were trespassing and said they should leave before the police arrived.

The other teenagers fled after Earnshaw produced a sword which he then used to inflict a serious hand injury on Mr Badejo and, acting jointly with Gaukroger, fatal injuries on Mr Wilson, in a completely unprovoked attack.

Mr Badejo required extensive hospital treatment after the attack and is still recovering to this day.

DCI Marc Bowes of the Homicide and Major Enquiry Team, Senior Investigating Officer in the case, said: “The murder of Mr Wilson and the serious assault on Mr Badejo were truly dreadful offences in what was a horrendous incident for the community of Linthwaite.

“They both acted in a manner which many of us would struggle to comprehend and committed acts which were among the worst that I and other members of my investigation team have witnessed in our policing careers. Thankfully such acts are very rare occurrences in today’s society.”

He added: “We can’t begin to imagine the appalling impact Mr Wilson’s murder has had on his family. Their courage and dignity in coping with such a traumatic event has been immense.”

“Nothing can alter the tragic outcome of this night but I do sincerely hope that the family of Robert, Mr Badejo and his wider family, and all those affected by this senseless incident can take some measure of comfort in seeing these two individuals jailed for such a long period.”

In a statement, Robert Wilson’s family thanked the police and emergency services, along with “our QC Peter Makepeace and his honour Mr Justice Lavender for finally delivering (some kind of) justice.”

The grieving family added: “Robert was a much loved husband, stepfather, brother, uncle and friend. He was hard working, had a wicked sense of humour, and was fun to be with. He enjoyed many things in life, loved all sports, gardening, long distance walking (especially in the Yorkshire Dales) and music of which he was very knowledgeable.  His passion for the game of golf brought many friends into our lives and he loved being a member of Dewsbury District Golf Club.

“As a boss he was very much admired and respected by his team, not only as a manager, but also as a mentor and friend to all. It is a testament to Robert that both his golf club and company are honouring him with memorial days, awards and trophies in his name. It is a comfort to us to know he will not be forgotten and that he made his mark in so many ways.

“He was a caring man who took the time to help out at a local nursing home and chat to the residents, raising a smile on their faces. Everyone has been left devastated by his death.

“Without a doubt the hardest part of losing Robert has been the manner in which he lost his life.  That he had such a horrific death has been hard to bear for us. We have tried to look for positives and are thankful that it was only one life that was taken, it could quite easily have been more. We are just so glad that these youths are now off our streets as they obviously have no regard for anyone.  To do what they did is incomprehensible to any “normal” human being and they do not deserve a place in society.”

“The family would like to thank everyone who have offered their love and support throughout.”

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Tara Rippin

Tara Rippin is a reporter for Spain’s largest English-speaking newspaper, Euro Weekly News, and is responsible for the Costa Blanca region.
She has been in journalism for more than 20 years, having worked for local newspapers in the Midlands, UK, before relocating to Spain in 1990.
Since arriving, the mother-of-one has made her home on the Costa Blanca, while spending 18 months at the EWN head office in Fuengirola on the Costa del Sol.
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