[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Friday, 25 July, 2003, 16:14 GMT 17:14 UK
South African hitmen jailed for life
Barry Trigwell
Barry Trigwell's was bludgeoned to death in his home
Two South African men have been jailed for life after being found guilty of the murder of a private detective at his Sutton Coldfield home eight years ago.

A jury took 16 hours to return a majority 10-2 guilty verdict on Paul Ras, 41, and Loren Anders Sundkvist, 48, both from Johannesburg, of Barry Trigwell's murder.

Birmingham Crown Court had heard Mr Trigwell's fourth wife, South African born Ethel Anne Trigwell, had hired the two men to kill her husband at his home in Walmley in February 1995.

Trigwell, known to friends as Anne, was jailed for life for the murder in July 1996.

'Modest reward'

As the verdict was read out on Friday, Mr Trigwell's sister, Julie Armener, and daughter wept.

Sundkvist stood motionless clutching a Bible while Ras buried his face in his hands and was visibly shaken by the verdicts.

Ethel Anne Trigwell
Barry Trigwell's wife is serving life for her part in his murder

Mr Justice Pitchers told the pair they had killed Mr Trigwell in a "brutal and bloody way".

"You were prepared to come to this country for modest reward and kill a man who had done little harm to anyone else and absolutely none to you."

During the trial, which began last month, the court heard Mr Trigwell, 44, was found bludgeoned to death and partly stripped in the bath at his home in Walmley.

His skull had been shattered.

The jury was told the plot to kill him was hatched during one of his wife's regular trips to South Africa, where a Johannesburg nightclub owner agreed to find hitmen for her.

A pair of shoes, a cigarette lighter and a tuft of blood-stained hair found in a hire car led detectives to Ras and Sundkvist, who were extradited last year.

'Traumatic time'

The court was also told the victim's wife, who he had only married a year before his death, was having an affair in South Africa and stood to gain hundreds of thousands of pounds from her husband's death in insurance claims.

Outside the court, Mrs Armener made a statement in which she said justice had finally be done "eight long years" after her brother's murder.

"The evil people responsible for Barry' death are now behind bars," she said.

"The past few years have been a very sad and traumatic time but we are satisfied at the verdict.

"It is a verdict Barry himself would have wanted no matter how long it took."

Mrs Armener also paid tribute to West Midlands Police officer Robert Ling, 27, who was killed in a car crash while escorting Ras and Sundkvist from South Africa to the UK.

'Long investigation'

Detective superintendent Matt Sawers said the verdicts marked the end of one of the longest criminal investigations ever carried out by West Midlands Police.

"By the evidence, these men came here to murder Barry Trigwell at his wife's insistence.

"I am very pleased with the convictions and pleased this long investigation has finally come to its end."

Mr Sawers said Mr Trigwell had helped solve the case by passing the phone number of the hotel where Ras and Sundkvist were staying to his sister.

He had became suspicious in the final days before his death after receiving phone calls from a South African man who wanted to meet him.

Murdered detective suspected danger
25 Jul 03  |  West Midlands
African 'hitmen' deny murder
24 Jun 03  |  West Midlands

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites


News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East | South Asia
UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature | Technology | Health
Have Your Say | In Pictures | Week at a Glance | Country Profiles | In Depth | Programmes
Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific