Page last updated at 12:24 GMT, Wednesday, 2 July 2008 13:24 UK

Brothers jailed for youth murder

Larry Morrison (l) and Michael Morrison (r)
Larry and Michael Morrison beat Bienda with a dog chain

Two brothers who beat, kicked and hit a 17-year-old student to death with a dog chain have been jailed for life.

Bienda Litambola was attacked in Canning Town, east London, after a row over his girlfriend in November.

Larry, 23, and Michael Morrison, 21, both of Victoria Docks, east London, were each ordered by the Old Bailey judge to serve a minimum of 12 years.

A police inquiry began into claims that three jurors were allegedly intimidated while deliberating on the verdict.

None of the jury members were in court as the pair were sentenced.

Judge Richard Hawkins told the brothers they murdered "a teenager on the verge of his adult life".

Jury 'intimidated'

During the trial the court heard Bienda was attacked after a row over text messages that Larry Morrison sent to the victim's girlfriend.

The brothers stopped beating Bienda, who had passed out, and left him bleeding when a bus driver stopped them and hooted his horn.

The judge told the pair that although their intention was not to kill the youth they "were older and more mature and should have dealt with it (the row) in a different way".

Bienda Litambola
The 17-year-old student was beaten till he passed out

"No sentence deals with the loss undoubtedly suffered by family and friends," he added.

On Monday the judge asked the jury to retire to consider if they felt "inhibited from returning a verdict", but the jurors said the incident would "not have a bearing" and they would "pass judgment on the evidence presented".

The brothers were convicted by a 10-2 majority.

The court heard that three jury members were allegedly approached by members of the public gallery at St Paul's Tube station.

Police have seized CCTV footage from the station and will be talking to the jurors.

A note from the jury read: "They adjusted their pace to come closer to us. We deliberately went to a different escalator to avoid interaction.

"On the way down one of the group made an indirect comment which included the phrase 'hope you can sleep at night'. It was clearly directed at our group."

Another time during the trial the judge said that security had confiscated a knife from a person in the public gallery.



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