The jury was called back by the judge after three days of deliberation (since Monday afternoon). The foreman said they had reached unanimous verdicts on three of the defendants, but couldn't reach a decision on the fourth defendant. The judge told the jury he would accept a majority decision of at least 10 jurors and sent them away again. This was the impulse they needed. An hour later the jury announced they had reached their verdicts.
Jason Andrews: Guilty of murder.
Lisa Clarke: Guilty of murder.
Vaughan Davies: Guilty of murder.
Peter Knowles: Not guilty of murder. Guilty of manslaughter (by an 11-1 decision).
At 2pm the judge allowed the defence lawyers to present their mitigation speeches before he passed sentence. I was quite shocked to hear that the lawyers, on the whole, didn't seem to understand what mitigation is. Vaughan's lawyer pleaded mitigating circumstances on the basis of his age, which was justified. The other lawyers were making statements such as "the jury must have got it wrong, he couldn't possibly have been there all the time", as if begging the judge to ignore the jury's verdict. I was surprised the judge didn't interrupt the speech and tell the lawyer to stick to mitigation. Miss Montgomery asked the judge to interpret the jury's verdict for Lisa Clarke, since there was no evidence that she had taken part in the fatal attack. Once more, this was a callous dismissal of the jury's competence, which should have been openly criticised. A valid mitigating argument brought several times was that it wasn't a premeditated attack, it was just a drunken brawl that got out of hand. The judge replied to this, saying that it might not have been premeditated when it began, but if an attack including excessive brutality lasts for two hours, remaining for the whole attack indicates an intention to continue which can be classified as a premeditation to kill.
The sentences were:
Jason Andrews: Life. Possibility of parole after 27 years.
Lisa Clarke: Life. Possibility of parole after 23 years.
Vaughan Davies: Life. Possibility of parole after 14 years.
Peter Knowles: 14 Years. 7 years in prison, 7 years probation.
|Lisa Clarke, the ringleader|
Of course, the sentencing doesn't give us all the answers. We still don't know why Brian Farmer was killed. Apart from the random lies told in the witness box we can only guess. The only thing we know with any certainty is that it was Lisa Clarke's plan to kill Brian, and she invited her friends to his flat to commit the act. Her "best friend" John Campion, who chose to leave before the worst violence began, might know the reason, but he isn't talking.
This is a summary of my trial reports:
- Brian Farmer Murder Trial Day 1
- Brian Farmer Murder Trial Day 2
- Brian Farmer Murder Trial Day 3
- Brian Farmer Murder Trial Day 4
- Brian Farmer Murder Trial Day 5
- Brian Farmer Murder Trial Day 6
- Brian Farmer Murder Trial Day 7
- Brian Farmer Murder Trial Day 8
- Brian Farmer Murder Trial Day 9
- Brian Farmer Murder Trial Day 10
- Brian Farmer Murder Trial Day 11
- Brian Farmer Murder Trial Day 12
- Brian Farmer Murder Trial Day 13
- Brian Farmer Murder Trial Day 14
- Brian Farmer Murder Trial Day 15
- Brian Farmer Murder Trial Day 16
- Brian Farmer Murder Trial Verdict