Father and sons jailed for life for Langley Mill murder

12/02/2016

Three men from the same family have been found guilty of murder for killing two teenagers and a baby when they deliberately set fire to a flat in Derbyshire.

Peter Eyre and his sons Simon and Anthony set the fire in North Street, Langley Mill. 17-year old Amy Smith, her daughter Ruby-Grace Gaunt aged six months and 17-year-old Edward Green died in the fire in the early hours of 21 June 2015. Shaun Gaunt (the father of Ruby Grace and partner of Amy)  and another teenager escaped.

The prosecution's case was that they attacked the flat following an argument that night with Mr Gaunt, who had accused another of Peter Eyre's sons of stealing his moped. Peter Eyre took exception to the argument, and decided to retaliate. He and his two sons drove to Langley Mill, where they knew Mr Gaunt would be at home. At first they checked the location out and returned to their home in Sandiacre. Later, they drove again to the flat, where Simon and Anthony Eyre doused the front of the flat and a car parked outside with petrol and left the scene.

In addition to Mr Gaunt, there were others in the flat that night. As well as Amy and Ruby-Grace, two other friends were staying the night at the flat; Mr Green and one other. As the fire took hold, Mr Gaunt and his other friend were able to escape, but Mr Green, Amy and Ruby Grace died.

The Eyres were found guilty after a trial at Nottingham Crown Court and were today sentenced to life in prison. Peter Eyre will serve a minimum term of 32 years. Simon Eyre has a minimum term of 26 years and Anthony Eyre must serve a minimum term of 23 years.

Dona Parry-Jones, Senior Crown Prosecutor at CPS East Midlands, said: "This mindless attack took the lives of three people who had done nothing to the defendants. The Eyres set out to target Mr Gaunt, but it was Amy, Ruby-Grace and Edward who died instead. During the trial, the prosecution presented evidence that they knew there were others in the flat, but carried out their so called revenge attack regardless.

"This was a trial for murder, because the evidence pointed strongly to the fact that the defendants deliberately set out to cause serious harm. The jury has rejected their arguments that they did not intend to set fire to the flat. They planned this together and executed their plan coldly and ruthlessly without a care for who they were putting in danger. The seriousness of this crime is reflected in the sentence the judge has handed down today.

"This was a tragic, needless waste of three young lives. We cannot underestimate the devastation this has left on the families and friends of the three victims. I would like  to express my deepest sympathy to them for their loss. I hope that seeing the Eyres brought to justice for their actions will provide some comfort or closure at this difficult time."