Brother jailed for helping killer

THE brother of a businessman convicted of killing his fiancée by driving over her head has been jailed for three years for helping him evade arrest after the murder.

Craig Robinson

THE brother of a businessman convicted of killing his fiancée by driving over her head has been jailed for three years for helping him evade arrest after the murder.

Robert Caunter was sentenced at Ipswich Crown Court yesterday along with Joseph Marland-Brown.

Last month, his brother - Christopher Caunter - was jailed for life for the murder of 35-year-old Deborah Townsend. The court heard drove over her head in his Land Rover Discovery after a heated argument.

Parts of Ms Townsend's scalp and clumps of hair were found in a pool of blood by a passer-by on the A146 at Beccles in July 2005.

Her partially-clothed body was discovered the following day in the boot of Christopher Caunter's abandoned Land Rover Discovery in the car park of a fishing lake at Newlands Hall, Roxwell, near Chelmsford.

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After Ms Townsend's death, Christopher Caunter, 36, of Hullbridge, Essex, fled to Thailand where he stayed until he was extradited back to the UK in 2007.

Yesterday the court heard that Robert Caunter, 39, of Eldred Road, Barking, was contacted by his brother after Christopher had killed Ms Townsend.

Robert followed Christopher to Newlands Hall and then drove him to London - despite seeing the body and knowing Ms Townsend had been unlawfully killed.

Jeremy Donne, for Robert Caunter, said: “Christopher Caunter was a powerful man. When combined with considerations of family loyalty one can begin to understand but not excuse Robert Caunter's sorry involvement in this matter. He was effectively sucked into involvement by his forceful brother.”

Mr Donne said his client was not the most intelligent of men but was of good character with no previous convictions.

Marland-Brown, 39, of Mild May Road, Romford, was sentenced to two years in prison for also helping Christopher Caunter avoid arrest.

The court heard that he lied to police, picked up a package from Christopher Caunter's house containing money he needed to leave the country and helped to find a car in the local newspaper so his friend could travel to France.

Philip Misner, mitigating, said: “Caunter is a powerful and frightening man. It's not the case that Joseph Brown wanted to help him - he was confronted with this man at his home where his girlfriend and young children were. It's plain that this was spontaneous - helping a friend in a difficult position. It was simply not within Mr Brown's personality to turn a friend down. He has consistently, for a number of years, gone out the way to help people.”

Sentencing, Judge John Devaux said both men had acted through feelings of friendship or family loyalty. They were found guilty at Christopher Caunter's murder trial last month.

The court heard that Ms Townsend and Caunter fled to Lowestoft on July 15, 2005 after his London business premises were raided by the Inland Revenue.

The couple had spent the evening drinking in the Norfolk Arms pub and towards the end of the night had started arguing.

They had abandoned plans to spend the night at a flat in Lowestoft and instead had got into Caunter's rented Land Rover and embarked on the journey which resulted in Ms Townsend's death.

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