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Last Updated: Thursday, 19 January 2006, 17:25 GMT
Brothers guilty of garage murders
Lee and Robert Firkins
The Firkins battered the couple to death with a sledgehammer
Two brothers face life sentences after being found guilty of murdering a couple in their own home in Cornwall.

Robert Firkins, 33, and Lee Firkins,31, both of Weston-super-Mare, had denied murdering Graham and Carol Fisher on Bonfire Night 2003.

The Fishers were shot and then battered to death at their home near Wadebridge.

The brothers were convicted at Exeter Crown Court on Thursday, after a trial which began on 24 October. Both men are expected to appeal.

You...brutally extinguished their lives with extreme violence
Mr Justice Owen

When the jury foreman announced the unanimous verdicts the brothers swore and shouted abuse from the dock.

As Mr Justice Owen began sentencing he was interrupted by one of the brothers saying from the dock "we are two innocent men".

The brothers were taken from the dock as the judge continued.

He said: "You burst in on Mr and Mrs Fisher, a happy, close and self-contained couple and brutally extinguished their lives with extreme violence".

The judge said both were shot a number of times and sustained injuries which would have been fatal had they not been already been beaten to death with a sledgehammer.

The judge said some measure of the "indescribable horror" that the brothers inflicted was that as she attempted to dial 999 her hand was shot away, almost severing it.

Mr Justice Owen said from the trail of blood it was clear she was taken around the bungalow, bleeding profusely as they searched it.

Carole and Graham Fisher
The Fishers were shot before and after being bludgeoned to death

As she attempted to escape, her husband lying shot, she was shot again in the back.

"She almost made it to the garden gate when she was shot again, then clubbed to death with a sledgehammer," he said.

He added he would determine the minimum term of the brothers must serve when he sentenced them for other offences which the jury had heard they had admitted.

Mr Fisher was found dead with three shotgun blasts on the floor of the kitchen in the cluttered, blood-spattered bungalow next to the garage.

His wife was also shot three times and she and her husband died from massive head injuries caused by sledgehammer blows.

Mr Fisher's skull was split in two.

No fingerprints or forensic evidence were found at the scene, nor were there any witnesses to what had happened.

The turning point in the investigation was a forensic link between the Firkin brothers and another armed robbery using a double barrelled shotgun which took place in Cornwall six weeks after the murder.

Det Ch Insp Martin Orpe said after the trial: "We hope that the conclusion of this case will help all those who suffered as a result of this offence."

A statement read on behalf of the families of Mr and Mrs Fisher said they were satisfied with the verdicts.

Mr and Mrs Fisher were a "devoted couple" and "hardworking and honest people who enjoyed their life to the full", the statement said.

"We have the rest of our lives to come to terms with that fateful night.

"Sadly Carol and Graham have no time at all. "

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