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Last Updated: Friday, 24 August 2007, 19:18 GMT 20:18 UK
US pair jailed for killing Briton
Alan Senitt (photo: www.somethingjewish.co.uk)
Mr Senitt was an established political activist
Two Americans have been jailed for robbing and murdering an aspiring British politician in Washington DC.

Alan Senitt, 27, from Pinner, north-west London, was stabbed in the chest and had his throat slit in the city's Georgetown area last July.

Christopher Piper, 26, and Jeffrey Rice, 23, admitted both charges at the District of Columbia Superior Court.

Rice was sentenced to 52 years in prison and Piper to 37 years, at the hearing on Friday.

Rice also pleaded guilty to gun charges and Piper admitted a sex abuse charge which arose from the incident.

Escorted home

Mr Senitt went to Washington to study politics and volunteer for former Virginia governor Mark Warner's potential presidential campaign.

Mr Senitt was killed as he escorted a female friend home from a cinema on 9 July 2006.

They were approached by four suspects including Piper, who had a pellet gun painted to look like a handgun.

He stole the woman's purse and sexually assaulted her.

Map graphic
Mr Senitt was killed in the Georgetown area of Washington

When Mr Senitt tried to help his friend, Rice stabbed him in the chest and slit his throat, the court heard.

The court heard that the murder was the culmination of a series of robberies committed by the defendants last July.

The prison sentences given to Rice and Piper included 16 years each for the robberies. Rice also received 11 years in prison for possession of a firearm.

Judge Neal Kravitz said the two defendants preyed on "innocent, defenceless people" and that what happened was "entirely foreseeable" when armed robbery took place.

In the District of Columbia, prisoners must serve at least 85% of their sentence before being considered for parole.

They took the life of our son for which there can be no defence, no justification, and no reason
Karen Senitt

Outside the court, Mr Senitt's mother Karen said: "The defendants went out that evening determined to rob someone and take what was not theirs to take. In so doing, they took the life of our son."

She called for Rice and Piper to be jailed for life so they would "never be free again to do the same to someone else's child".

Mrs Senitt added: "They took the life of our son for which there can be no defence, no justification, and no reason."

Last November a 15-year-old was sentenced to juvenile custody by the US court after pleading guilty to murder in connection with the incident.

The case of fourth suspect Olivia Miles, who allegedly drove the getaway car, is ongoing.


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