Murderer loses appeal against conviction

A PUB raider jailed for life over his role in a robbery which ended in the “barbaric” murder of a barmaid has failed in his attempt to clear his name. Leon Sobers and Damien Duberry were each jailed for life for the raid on Harleys pub in Stoke Park Drive, Ipswich, in December 2000 which culminated in the death of 38-year-old Janet Fleming.

A PUB raider jailed for life over his role in a robbery which ended in the “barbaric” murder of a barmaid has failed in his attempt to clear his name.

Leon Sobers and Damien Duberry were each jailed for life for the raid on Harleys pub in Stoke Park Drive, Ipswich, in December 2000 which culminated in the death of 38-year-old Janet Fleming.

Both were convicted at Norwich Crown Court in October 2001 of robbery and murder, receiving double life prison sentences.

Sobers, 25, of Birkfield Drive, Ipswich, appealed against his murder conviction on the basis he had no direct involvement in Miss Fleming's murder, which was carried out by Duberry.

But his appeal was dismissed yesterday by Lord Justice Longmore, who ruled Sobers' conviction had been “safe”.

Miss Fleming died from head wounds after returning to the pub soon after closing-time on December 10, 2000.

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She was ambushed by Duberry, who bludgeoned her with a pistol before “kicking and stamping” on her as she lay helpless on the ground.

Sobers' counsel, Nigel Lithman QC, told the Appeal Court in London Duberry's attack as “barbaric and outlandish”, but argued Sobers had not been directly implicated in the killing as he had been inside the pub at the time.

The Appeal Court heard Sobers had been inside the pub clearing out the £2,800 contents of its safe when Duberry had gone outside to tackle Miss Fleming as she returned to the premises.

The prosecution claimed the robbery had been intricately planned, with Sobers targeting the safe and Duberry acting as look-out.

Sobers was charged with murder on the basis the killing was a “joint enterprise” between the two men - both having planned the raid knowing anyone who intervened might be subject to violence.

Lord Justice Longmore said there was clear evidence of joint enterprise and added Sobers could have foreseen the consequences of his participation in the raid.

Speaking after the hearing, Detective Chief Inspector Tim Beach, of Suffolk police, said: “It is gratifying that the court of appeal has upheld the careful judgement of Mr Justice Moses.

“Perhaps Miss Fleming's mother, Frida Fleming, and her daughter Naomi can both be allowed to move on now.”

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