Page last updated at 13:51 GMT, Monday, 29 March 2010 14:51 UK

Shotgun murderer who killed before gets whole-life term

Ernest Wright
Wright had served a life sentence for the murder of a man in 1971

A man has been jailed for the rest of his life for a shotgun murder - 39 years after committing another killing.

Ernest Wright shot Neville Corby, 42, in the neck in Bradford, West Yorks. He was also convicted of trying to murder Mr Corby's partner Craig Freear, 31.

Newcastle Crown Court heard the men had rowed after Wright, 68, persuaded Mr Freear's disabled mother to have her benefit money paid into his account.

Wright had already served 26 years of a life term for a murder in 1971.

The jury was unaware of Wright's previous conviction for beating a love rival to death with an iron bar.

Sentencing Wright to a whole-life term, Mr Justice Openshaw said: "He remains vigorous and, as his actions on this day show, he remains cunning, devious and, in my judgment, highly dangerous."

The court heard Wright, disguised with a mask, shot at the couple six times after bursting into their home in Ashbourne Road last March.

Wright said in court in that bullies always get their comeuppance. Well, today a murderer has truly had his
Craig Freear

While Mr Corby was being attacked by Wright in a bedroom he called out: "Craig, where are you? I'm dying here."

Wright then shot Mr Corby in the neck at close range as his victim crouched in the room.

During the trial the prosecution said the shot was "nothing short of an execution of a defenceless man".

Mr Freear, who had taken refuge in the bathroom, escaped by climbing on to the bath, jumping out of the window on to the ground below and hiding under a neighbour's car.

Suicide threats

After the killing Wright went on the run for 30 days and was eventually arrested at a friend's house, next door but one to his own home.

The trial heard that Wright had befriended Mr Freear's mother, who is disabled and has mental health problems, and persuaded her to have her benefit payments paid into his bank account instead of her son's.

He also moved her from Bradford into a property in Shipley without telling Mr Freear.

In the days leading up to the murder there was a series of confrontations between the three men.

Neville Corby
Neville Corby was a father of two

Wright murdered Trevor Hale in Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, in 1971 and received a life sentence in 1973.

His minimum term was set at 13 years but he served double that after absconding four times during his sentence.

He was once found sunbathing in a back garden after fleeing during a visit to his sister in 1991.

While evading police for Mr Corby's murder, he wrote three letters to detectives expressing his innocence and threatening suicide.

After the verdict was announced, Mr Freear said Wright's actions had had a "devastating impact on both myself and Neville's family".

He said: "I can take some comfort though from knowing that Wright will most likely never be free to hurt anyone again.

"Wright said in court in that bullies always get their comeuppance.

"Well, today a murderer has truly had his and I want to thank all those in the criminal justice system who have delivered justice for both myself and Nev."



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SEE ALSO
Benefits row led to 'brutal' murder
29 Mar 10 |  Bradford
Murder suspect helped by friends
18 Mar 10 |  Bradford
Murder accused 'out on licence'
17 Mar 10 |  Bradford
Man 'executed' by masked intruder
01 Mar 10 |  Bradford
Man charged over double shooting
01 May 09 |  Bradford
Shooting victim leaves hospital
17 Apr 09 |  Bradford

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Telegraph and Argus Shotgun killer told: 'You'll die in prison' - 5 hrs ago
Mirror.co.uk Murderer, 68, gets life for 2nd time - 9 hrs ago
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