Ipswich/Sudbury: Frustrated murderer’s High Court bid rejected

IPSWICH: A murderer was today told people can’t have all they want in life by his victim’s mother, after a failed High Court bid to aid his chance of freedom.

Leon Sobers, formerly of Birkfield Drive, Ipswich, was convicted along with Damien Duberry, formerly of Morland Road, Ipswich, of killing Ipswich barmaid Janet Fleming during a robbery in December 2000.

Sobers, now 34, was sentenced to life with a minimum of 11 years in jail after being convicted following a trial at Norwich Crown Court.

He has now become frustrated in his attempts to move to a prison where he can undertake a cognitive self-change programme, which he needs to complete before going in front of a parole board.

Sobers took the Ministry of Justice to the High Court alleging a “systematic breach of duty” by keeping him on a waiting list to change jails.

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After the case was thrown out, Ms Fleming’s mother Freda said she thought the decision was fair and spoke of her feelings towards Sobers and Duberry.

She also gave a powerfully articulate account of what life has been like since her daughter was murdered at Harley’s in Stoke Park Drive, Ipswich.

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Mrs Fleming, who lives in Sudbury, said: “When I heard about Leon Sobers parole problems pending being accepted on this cognitive self-change programme my immediate reaction was highly negative. Having given it more measured consideration my opinion has not changed.

“I do believe there is a certain type of criminal mind which is attracted to violence – that is in some way damaged beyond repair.

“We can’t have all we want in life, even though we may strive for it. My daughter’s dreams and hopes in the prime of her life were never to materialise.

“My granddaughter Naomi was always the pride and joy of Janet and her family. She comes to stay with me often.

“I suppose you could say I live a semi-reclusive life now. I’m only really comfortable in the company of my cats and my books.

“I no longer feel part of life outside my front door and nor do I wish to be. I go out when absolutely necessary to do my shopping and I prefer to be in the house, mainly in silence. It’s just how I cope with Janet’s loss.

“Neither Naomi nor I dwell on the two people (Sobers and Duberry) involved, but images of the horrific attack that my daughter endured never leave me every day and every wakeful night.

“We are each living in our own private nightmare, but we have both found a way to cope

“Life goes on – it has to. We do draw strength from each other and I treasure every moment we spend with each other.

“That’s what keeps me going. I try to remain strong for my granddaughter.”

Sobers and Duberry, who also got life but with a minimum 17-year prison tariff, stole �2,845 during the robbery.

Gratuitous violence was used against landlord, Andrew Hull, but shortly afterwards Duberry murdered Ms Fleming, 38, when she returned to the scene during the raid.

During the attack Duberry, who was 21 at the time, stamped on the barmaid five times and jumped on her head.

The trial jury found that Sobers shared responsibility for Duberry’s actions.

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