Two men sentenced to 15 years for the manslaughter of pensioner

31/05/2012

Danny Keeble and Peter Marston were today jailed for 15 years by His Honour Judge Tonking at Stafford Crown Court today for the manslaughter of 87 year-old Charles Green who died following a burglary at his home in Oswestry in May 2011.

Stephen Bacon, Senior Crown Prosecutor from West Midlands Crown Prosecution Service, based in Shrewbury said: "This was a tragic case of a vulnerable man who got up in the middle of the night to investigate noises he had heard in his house. Outside his bedroom he was confronted by Keeble, thrown to the ground and held face down whilst being threatened with violence if he did not tell them where his bank cards were. Marston searched the property including ransacking Mr Green's bedroom, before both defendants left taking with them items including a passport and bank books.

"After Keeble and Marston left, Mr Green called the emergency services and before he was taken to hospital, PC Kevin Roberts asked him what had happened and recorded his account using the 'robocam' attached to his uniform.

"Mr Green had a bleed on the brain, a fractured hip and laceration and swelling to his right ear and forearms. He remained in hospital during the weeks that followed and was not fit enough to make a formal statement to the police during that time. Unfortunately, his health deteriorated and he died in hospital on 2nd June 2011. During the trial, doctors told the court that his death would have been an almost inevitable consequence of the attack which had occurred. 

"Keeble's fingerprints were later found on a window frame at the point of entry. He was arrested soon after. His trainers were seized and the victim's DNA was found in blood staining from the toe of the left trainer. The Judge concluded that footprints in Mr Green's bedroom were left by Marston's training shoes.

"At the trial the prosecution applied to use the account given on 'robocam' in evidence and the Judge allowed this. It formed a key part of the evidence heard by the jury, in particular in relation to the presence of two men inside the house, the violence that was used against the victim and the fact that the man not involved in the assault joined in with what was going on by searching the house whilst Mr Green was held down.

"I hope this case sends out a clear message that the criminal justice system has a range of technology available to fight crime and we can use this to bring those who commit such heinous crimes to justice. In this case the 'robocam' proved an invaluable tool. Equally important is that the death of the only witness to events did not prevent a successful prosecution.

"Our thoughts are, of course, with Mr Green's family and friends, and we continue to extend our sympathies towards them."

On 4th May 2012, the jury found both defendants guilty of manslaughter and Marston guilty of burglary (Keeble having previously pleaded guilty to burglary).