Two men found guilty and jailed for life for murder - Abingdon

31/05/2016

Two men appeared at Oxford Crown Court today, Tuesday 31 May 2016, and were jailed for life for the murder of Kerry Reeves in Abingdon last November.

Billy Johnson, aged 20, from Ripon Court, Corby, and Charles Noble, aged 21, from Kempton Avenue, Northolt, Ealing, London were sentenced after being found guilty, by a jury, on Friday, 27 May 2016, after a 15-day trial at the same court.  Johnson was sentenced to life and is to serve a minimum of 25 years imprisonment and Noble was sentenced to life and is to serve a minimum of 22 years imprisonment.

Kerry Reeves, aged 26, was shot in the face in Thornhill Walk off Northcourt Road, Abingdon, on Tuesday, 3 November 2015, and died in hospital two days later.

Adrian Foster, Chief Crown Prosecutor for Thames and Chiltern Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said: "This case involved the tragic murder of 26-year-old Kerry Reeves in Abingdon last November.

"Billy Johnson and Charles Noble were known to Kerry, but there had been bad feeling and a number of instances of violence and harassment between them and their respective friends for over a year.

"On the evening of Tuesday, 03 November 2015, Kerry and two of her friends, armed with baseball bats, went looking for Johnson and Noble to confront them about an earlier incident.  They had been told that Johnson might be in possession of a gun, but did not believe it. Knowing that Kerry and her friends were looking for them, Johnson and Noble disguised themselves with masks and gloves and armed themselves with a sawn-off shotgun.  At just after 8pm, Johnson and Noble ambushed Kerry and her friends in a garden behind Thornhill Walk in Abingdon and Kerry was shot, at close range, to the face with the sawn-off shotgun.  She was taken to the John Radcliffe hospital, but died of her injuries two days later on 05 November 2015.  Although it is believed that Johnson pulled the trigger, both Johnson and Noble played a significant role in this planned attack, which led to the untimely death of Kerry. They both acted jointly, together, and are clearly extremely ruthless, calculated and violent individuals.

"Both Johnson and Noble answered 'no comment' during police interviews, but were linked to Kerry's death with telephone evidence (call data and cell site analysis), Internet search history and CCTV.  The jury found them guilty of murder despite their denials.

"This case represents a tragedy for Kerry's family and friends who have been devastated by her death. The witnesses were utterly unprepared for what they saw, some of them acted courageously on the night in their efforts to save Kerry's life, and all of them have given evidence in very difficult circumstances. I would like to pay tribute to Kerry's family and friends and the witnesses for their wholehearted support of the investigation and prosecution.

"We have worked closely with Thames Valley Police since this investigation was launched and as a result of the hard work and diligence of the prosecution team, a just outcome has been achieved. The consequences of this incident highlight the significant danger weapons, drugs, alcohol and violence have on lives. The CPS takes all allegations of violence and gun crime extremely seriously and will continue to vigorously prosecute all such offenders. We know that nothing will bring Kerry back to her family and friends, but we hope that todays convictions bring them at least a small sense that justice has been done.  Our thoughts are very much with them all at this time."

Senior Investigating Officer, Detective Chief Inspector Mike Lynch said: "The jury at Oxford Crown Court found Charles Noble and Billy Johnson responsible for the murder of Kerry Reeves and today they have been sentenced for this heinous crime. It is with regret that neither man showed any remorse for taking the life of an innocent woman by shooting her at point blank range on that evening of 3 November 2015.

"Kerry's murder has had a huge impact on her family and the community of Abingdon.

"Although there can be no sense of happiness with the conviction of Charles Noble and Billy Johnson, I hope there is a sense of justice for Kerry's mother, Nicky, and her family.

"The conviction of Charles Noble and Billy Johnson would not have been possible if it was not for all of the witnesses who agreed to come forward from the community and give evidence. I commend them for this as they have had to re-live the moment that Kerry's life was tragically taken."