Life sentence for fire death women
A KILLER who sang "burn baby, burn" as she set fire to a teenager who had been doused in petrol is todaystarting a life sentence for murder.Emma Last was sentenced to serve a minimum of 20 years for her part in the murder of 17-year-old Debra Carne whose charred body was found in a layby near her Sible Hedingham home.
A KILLER who sang "burn baby, burn" as she set fire to a teenager who had been doused in petrol is todaystarting a life sentence for murder.
Emma Last was sentenced to serve a minimum of 20 years for her part in the murder of 17-year-old Debra Carne whose charred body was found in a layby near her Sible Hedingham home.
Last, 18, of the Foyer hostel in Braintree had pleaded guilty to the attack in July 2002.
Kerry Bauer, 21, of the Foyer was jailed for life and will serve a minimum of 17 years after being found guilty of murder following a six-week trail at Chelmsford Crown Court.
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Steven Wood, 23, of Parker Way, Halstead, was jailed for eight years after being cleared of murder but found guilty of manslaughter for his part in the killing.
Nicole Hollinshead, 19, of Ravens Avenue, Halstead, was jailed for five years after being found guilty of conspiracy to inflict grievous bodily harm.
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A packed courtroom heard the horrific details of Debra Carne's last moments before she was killed.
Miss Carne, of Swan Court, Sible Hedingham, had become the victim of a plot against her after she became the object of Wood's affection.
Martyn Levett prosecuting, said in custody Last had made unguarded comments to guards at Holloway Prison, saying, "I burnt her, singing 'burn baby, burn', and 'relight my fire'.
None of the four showed any emotion as the sentences were passed by Mr Justice Nelson.
He described Miss Carne's death as "horrific" and said the motive for the killing was on the face of it "so trivial it defied explanation".
He said: "For teenagers and people in their 20s to have lovers' quarrels is entirely common but for such quarrels to result in murder is thankfully extremely uncommon.
"Each of you was drawn into a plan to kill a 17-year-old girl who had done nothing more than become the temporary subject of Steven Wood's affections. He thought he had found a more sympathetic girlfriend.
"Whether it was a lethal cocktail of personality or powerful emotions driven by alcohol and cannabis or a failure to distinguish between fantasy and reality, cannot now be determined", he said.
After the case, Miss Carne's father, Roger Carne, said the murder of his daughter has had a devastating effect on his family.
He said: "Deborah was taken in the most vicious way and it is impossible to come to terms with it.
"We are pleased with the verdict. It was the best we could have hoped for. We will now try to rebuild our lives and work together as a family to bear the pain and try to move on while these evil people serve their sentences."
During the trial a jury heard Debra Carne had become the innocent victim of a plot against her after Hollinshead decided she was to blame for her relationship problems with Wood.
Hollinshead and Wood met Debra whilst working at joinery factory Premdor Crosby Ltd in Castle Hedingham and they had become friends.
The couple lived together, but in the week leading up to Miss Carnes' murder they had a "lovers' tiff" and returned to live with their parents.
During the brief separation Wood was to reveal to Miss Carne's mother, Heather Knight, that he had finished his relationship with Hollinshead because of his feelings for Debra.
On July 24 - four days before the killing - Steven Wood stayed at Debra Carne's, and although nothing happened between the two of them, Miss Carne was then bombarded with abusive texts.
She phoned a helpline informing the police about the threats.
On the weekend of the murder witnesses living in the Foyer Hostel in Braintree - where Last and Bauer lived and had been joined by Wood and Hollinshead - overheard plans to "get someone".
Wood, who claimed he would do anything Hollinshead said to avoid an argument, went to a local garage where he filled a Sunny Delight bottle with petrol - which would be later thrown over Miss Carne as Wood sat just yards away in his car.
A trap was set - Wood drove Bauer and Last to a quiet spot in Dyne's Hall Road, Castle Hedingham, where they would lie in wait, "ready to ambush".
Wood collected Miss Carne just before 10pm who had no reason to suspect she was in danger.
She went along thinking she would finally be able to sort out the difficulties she, Wood and Hollinshead had been having.
For murderers Last and Bauer their encounter with Miss Carne was been the first time they had even seen their victim, yet they showed no mercy, dragging her from Wood's car before killing her.
Witnesses on the Sunday night of July 28, 2002, reported hearing screams across nearby fields of "stop, don't do it".
When Miss Carne's body was found, the hands on the watch showed the time as seven minutes past 10 - stuck by the heat of the molten plastic.
Det Supt Win Bernard, who led the investigation into the killing, said that in his 26 years in the police he had never come across a set of circumstances so horrific as those which led to the death of Debra Carne.
He said: "It's beyond comprehension how something so trivial like a boyfriend and girlfriend relationship can culminate in the murder of a 17-year-old girl. I would describe what happened as evil."