Page last updated at 16:40 GMT, Friday, 11 April 2008 17:40 UK

Meat cleaver murder pair jailed

James Howard Smith and Craig Clarke
James Howard Smith and Craig Clarke were jailed for life

Two men who killed another man with a meat cleaver in West Sussex have been sentenced to life terms in prison.

James Howard Smith, 26, of Hurstpierpoint, and Craig Clarke, 32, of Crawley, were told to serve at least 20 years each, at Lewes Crown Court.

The body of George Deer, 42, was found at his home in Willow Gardens, Hurstpierpoint, on 17 March 2007, after the attack.

Smith and Clarke were found guilty of murder after a six-week trial.

After jurors unanimously convicted the pair on Thursday, Det Ch Insp Adam Hibbert, of Sussex Police, said: "Our sympathies go to the family of George Deer."

He said Smith, of Willow Close, and Clarke, of Albany Road, West Green, kicked in Mr Deer's door at 0430 GMT carrying knives and a meat cleaver.

They subjected him to a "vicious and unprovoked attack" and left him for dead.

Bridget Ricketts, Mr Deer's former wife, said the killing had robbed two children of their father.

Pair deny murdering man at home
06 Jul 07 |  Sussex
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21 Mar 07 |  Sussex
Two held after man's body found
19 Mar 07 |  Sussex

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