Page last updated at 12:13 GMT, Thursday, 21 August 2008 13:13 UK

Walking stick death pair jailed

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Alan Bowles's daughter said her father "got in with the wrong people"

A man who murdered a grandfather by forcing a walking stick down his throat has been jailed for life.

Paul Slack, 46, of no fixed address, will serve a minimum of 16 years for killing Alan Bowles, 64, at his home in Great Yarmouth, Norfolk.

Kathleen Johnson, 57, also of no fixed address, convicted of manslaughter and assault, was given a three-year term.

Mr Bowles' stick was inserted nine inches into his throat, Norwich Crown Court heard.

Jurors heard how Slack had taken 50 from Mr Bowles the night before the attack in May last year.

Majority verdict

When Mr Bowles confronted Slack about it, his walking stick was thrust down his throat and he died of his injuries.

Judge Peter Jacobs said Slack intended to seriously harm Mr Bowles.

"You tried to suffocate him with a pillow and this man's ability to resist was greatly reduced when you put the walking stick into his mouth," he said.

"You then went on to fight a murder trial and you must live with the consequences as there is no reduction in your sentence for a guilty plea.

"You rammed that walking stick down his throat and it penetrated his chest area and you left him there for several days."

It has been emphasised you are of low intelligence and are inadequate but you are not inadequate in the use of violence
Judge Peter Jacobs

Kathleen Johnson admitted assaulting Mr Bowles causing actual bodily harm but was cleared of murder by a majority decision of 11 to one.

Judge Jacobs said: "It has been emphasised you are of low intelligence and are inadequate but you are not inadequate in the use of violence.

"You have in the past two very unpleasant attacks that were brought on by excessive drink.

"In a psyched up state you launched a violent and irrational attack on Mr Bowles in his own home, using your feet and causing him a bloody nose."

David Comer, 39, of Great Yarmouth, also charged, was found not guilty of manslaughter and murder on Wednesday but admitted perverting the course of justice.

He had thrown the walking stick into the River Yare and it was never recovered.

He was given bail and will return to court next month after pre-sentence reports are compiled.


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