Man jailed 18 years for murder of hair stylist

AN IPSWICH man who murdered a gay hair stylist because he made “unwanted sexual advances” towards him has been jailed for 18 years today.

AN IPSWICH man who killed a gay hair stylist who made unwanted sexual advances to him has been told he will have to serve at least 18 years of a life sentence before he can be considered for early release.

Sentencing 47-year-old Rodney Greenland for the murder of 36-year-old Simon Amers, Judge John Devaux described the attack, during which Mr Amers suffered seven stab wounds to his chest and abdomen and 12 slash wounds to his throat, as “ferocious and persistent”.

He accepted for sentencing purposes that Greenland had been sexually abused as a child and said “there may or may not have been” conduct by Mr Amers that amounted to provocation but that fell short of a defence of provocation.

Judge Devaux said the court had only heard Greenland’s “incomplete account” of what had happened on the night in question. “The jury hasn’t heard the full story from you and there are significant gaps in your account,” said the judge. “It remains a fact that he (Mr Amers) was found naked and it had never been suggested you removed his clothes.”

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He said another unanswered question was how Mr Amers came to be lying on his bed while bleeding heavily during the attack.

A jury took just two hours to find Greenland guilty of murdering Simon Amers after a week-long trial at Ipswich Crown Court.

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There were emotional scenes in the public gallery as members of 36-year-old Mr Amers’ family and friends shouted “Yes” as the jury foreman returned the “guilty” verdict..

During the trial the court heard that Mr Amers’ naked body was found face down in a pool of blood in his flat in the Chantry area of Ipswich several days after he was stabbed to death by Greenland.

The men had met in a pub in Ipswich town centre on July 27 before going back to Mr Amers’ flat in Widgeon Close for a drink where Greenland claimed he was the subject of unwanted sexual advances.

Greenland had gone into the kitchen and picked up a knife which he used to stab Mr Amers seven times in the chest and abdomen and slash his throat 12 times.

Greenland had removed his blood drenched socks and left them in Mr Amers’ bedroom before putting plastic bags on his feet under his shoes and leaving the flat.

The court heard that shortly after the killing Greenland had banged on the door of a friend’s home and said “I have killed someone”.

He had repeated the claims during the next two days to members of his family, a hospital doctor and police but was not initially believed because there was no sign of a body.

Police officers had driven Greenland around the Chantry area to see if he could identify the house where the killing took place but he could not remember where it was.

Because of Greenland’s state of drunkenness they had formed the view that nothing had happened and had taken him home.

Mr Amers’ body was found on July 30 by a friend who had let herself into his flat after becoming concerned at not being able to contact him.

Greenland, of Manchester Road, Ipswich had denied murdering Mr Amers but admitted manslaughter.

Giving evidence Greenland, who has previously lived in Great Cornard and Hadleigh, claimed he had been sexually abused as a child at boarding school.

He said Mr Amers had touched his leg while they were sitting on a settee and had then touched him again despite Greenland telling him not to.

He had gone into the kitchen and claimed that he had picked up a knife and stabbed Mr Amers after he followed him into the kitchen and touched his shoulder.

During the trial psychiatrists called by the prosecution and defence disagreed about Greenland’s state of mind at the time of the killing.

After yesterday’s verdict Godfried Duah, prosecuting lawyer for the Crown Prosecution Service, said: “Greenland needlessly took Simon’s life.

“One minute they were sharing a drink and the next he was subjected to a frenzied attack by a cold-blooded killer.”

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