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Last Updated: Thursday, 30 November 2006, 14:55 GMT
Pair jailed for 'brutal' murder
Joanne Butler
Joanne Butler had more than 20 head wounds
A man and his 14-year-old accomplice have been jailed for murdering a mentally-ill woman in her flat in Earl Shilton, Leicestershire.

Joanne Butler was killed at the flat in Maughan Street in January.

Sean Wilson, 37, who lived in the flat below Miss Butler, was sentenced to a minimum of 12-and-a-half years. He had admitted the murder.

The teenager, who cannot be named, was sentenced to a minimum of nine years. He was convicted of murder last month.

Miss Butler was beaten with an axe and stabbed in what the trial judge described as a "brutal attack on a vulnerable victim".

Her death has left a space in our family that can never be filled. What they did to her is horrifying and sickening
Statement from Joanne Butler's family

The body of the 38-year-old victim was discovered at her home on 4 January after firefighters were called to a blaze there.

The teenager had accompanied Wilson as he went into Miss Butler's flat, the jury at his trial was told.

Wilson hit her with a sock stuffed with stones as she slept. He then sent the boy to fetch an axe and hit her on the head with it several times as she struggled to fend him off.

At the same time the boy beat her with a metal bar, the trial was told.

The pair then went back to Wilson's flat, but returned after they heard Miss butler making noises.

Mr Wilson finally stabbed her to death, while the teenager started a fire in her living room.

'No justification'

In taped police interviews played to the court, the teenager told officers that he was ordered to strike the woman by Wilson and that he did not hit her "very hard".

Sentencing the pair at Leicester Crown Court, Judge Michael Pert said: "I have no doubt from what I have heard about her behaviour that she was extremely trying. But that cannot go anywhere near to justifying what the two of you did."

In a statement Miss Butler's family said: "Jo was a kind, caring, loving daughter and sister and we all miss her dreadfully.

"Her death has left a space in our family that can never be filled. What they did to her is horrifying and sickening."

The family said they would take legal advice after reading the findings from investigations into Miss Butler's care before she died.

Boy 'took part in brutal killing'
16 Oct 06 |  Leicestershire
Man pleads guilty to fire murder
06 Jun 06 |  Leicestershire
Teenager in court for flat murder
09 Jan 06 |  Leicestershire
Fatal fire treated as suspicious
05 Jan 06 |  Leicestershire

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