Brothers jailed for 'barbaric' killing
TWO brothers have been jailed for the “barbaric and cowardly” killing of an innocent man who was stabbed to death following a row at a cash machine. Westley Odger was attacked by Andrew and Mark Fredericks after a “silly misunderstanding” at a parade of shops in Colchester.
TWO brothers have been jailed for the “barbaric and cowardly” killing of an innocent man who was stabbed to death following a row at a cash machine.
Westley Odger was attacked by Andrew and Mark Fredericks after a “silly misunderstanding” at a parade of shops in Colchester.
The men had both denied murdering the 27-year-old plastics worker but at Chelmsford Crown Court yesterday Andrew Fredericks was convicted of murder and Mark Fredericks of manslaughter.
Judge Christopher Ball QC said the tragic case highlighted a “terrible sub-culture of drugs and knives” and said anyone could become a victim of “angry uncontrolled people'” who regularly armed themselves.
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Bricklayer Andrew Fredericks, 32, of Colchester, was given a life sentence following the two-week trial and will serve at least 15 years before being considered for parole.
His brother, cleaner Mark Fredericks, 37, also from Colchester, was given a seven-year jail term.
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Both had denied murder - each said the other struck the fatal blow in September last year.
However, the prosecution argued they had worked together as a team and it did not matter which of them made the fatal blow to the man, who they did not even know.
Trouble had flared when Mark Fredericks and Mr Odger argued as they waited to use a cash machine on Hunwicke Road on the town's Greenstead estate.
Witnesses described Mr Odger as saying very little and looking frightened by what was happening.
Afterwards Mark Fredericks headed to his nearby home and phoned his brother.
Mr Odger then experienced difficulty with his transaction and apologised to a man who was behind him in the queue because of the length of time he was taking.
A dark Sierra pulled up and Andrew Fredericks got out and the two brothers confronted Mr Odger.
Witnesses described Andrew Fredericks as “punching” Mr Odger on his neck.
Despite the best efforts of bystanders, paramedics and police officers Mr Odger died at the scene because an artery had been severed. The knife used to kill Mr Odger was never recovered.
Andrew Fredericks said when he put his hand on his brother's arm to pull him away it had gone up and hit Mr Odger.
Mark Fredericks had claimed Mr Odger had taken ages at the cash machine and when he told him this he became aggressive and abusive.
Mark Fredericks accused his brother of inflicting the fatal blow but refused to tell police during interview because he feared his mother's reaction had he “gone against” his brother.
After returning the verdicts the brothers' previous convictions were revealed.
Andrew Fredericks had a range of drug offences including being concerned with the supply of Class A drugs, robbery and GBH. He had also been convicted of carrying a bladed article in 1990.
Mark Fredericks had been convicted of burglary and possession of an offensive weapon as well as minor offences.
Judge Ball said: “If this could happen to Westley it could happen to anyone - that is the frightening reality.
“When there are angry uncontrolled people in society who regularly carry knives, this sort of thing could happen to any one of us if we are in the wrong place at the wrong time.”
He also praised the way in which Mr Odger's family had coped with the trial.
“It goes without saying the entire family have the enormous sympathy of all of us within the criminal justice system.”
In a victim impact statement, read to the court, Mr Odger's mother Ann condemned his killers.
It said: “Our lives will never be the same again without Westley. Every day decisions and routines are different now as a result of this barbaric, cowardly and violent act.”