Teen brothers jailed for brutal killing

TWO brothers set a trap for a Suffolk pensioner before brutally killing him in his own home, a court heard.68-year old Geoffrey Ponder was repeatedly battered over the head with a frying pan before being left for dead by 17-year old Jamie Markwell and his 19-year old brother Kieran Middleton, Ipswich Crown Court was told yesterday.

TWO brothers set a trap for a Suffolk pensioner before brutally killing him in his own home, a court heard.

68-year old Geoffrey Ponder was repeatedly battered over the head with a frying pan before being left for dead by 17-year old Jamie Markwell and his 19-year old brother Kieran Middleton, Ipswich Crown Court was told yesterday.

Earlier Mr Ponder was lured away from his home in Morton Road, Lowestoft, by the brothers who then laid in wait for him to return with the intention of robbing him.

The brothers, who were both known to Mr Ponder, had removed light bulbs from the hallway and lounge and cut telephone wires after luring Mr Ponder away on the pretext that one of them needed a lift.


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When the unsuspecting Mr Ponder returned home he was immediately set upon by Markwell who hit him over the head eight times with a frying pan and then kicked him while he was on the ground. “He had no chance to defend himself” said Karim Khalil QC, prosecuting.

Then, as he lay bleeding heavily from head injuries, Mr Ponder's trousers had been pulled down and the brothers had stolen his mobile phone and some loose coins before fleeing from the house.

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A neighbour, who was a paramedic, attended to Mr Ponder and he was taken to the James Paget Hospital where he was found to have an extensive fracture to his skull.

He was transferred to Addenbrookes Hospital, Cambridge, but died six days later on July 8 last year.

After the incident the brothers recruited their mother Melanie Weavers and three friends to provide them with false alibis for the time of the killing, said Mr Khalil.

Markwell, of Quakers Way, Leiston, admitted murder, robbery, conspiracy to burgle Mr Ponder's house and conspiracy to pervert the course of justice.

He was given a life sentence with a recommendation that he serves a minimum term of detention of 10 years before he is released on licence.

Middleton, of the same address, admitted manslaughter, conspiracy to burgle Mr Ponder's home and conspiracy to pervert the course of justice. He was sentenced to 6 years detention in a young offender's institution.

Sentencing the brothers, Judge John Devaux said they had exploited their friendship with Mr Ponder and had obtained a considerable amount of money from him. “It wasn't enough, and so between them they planned to steal money from him.

“When nothing valuable was found there seemed no alternative but to rob him. During the course of the robbery he was struck repeatedly by Markwell with a frying pan” said the Judge.

He described the attack as “ferocious” and said he had seen photographs of Mr Ponder's injuries.

Also before the court were Melanie Weavers, 38, of Quakers Way, Leiston, Stuart Burrows, 18, of Beaumont Cottages, Kelsale, Gemma Burrows, 17, of Seaward Avenue, Leiston and Joseph Jordan, 19, of Church Hall, Walpole.

Weavers admitted two offences of conspiring to pervert the course of justice and was jailed for 10 months.

The other three defendants admitted to conspiring to pervert the course of justice and doing an act intended to pervert the course of justice.

Stuart Burrows and Jordan were each given 47-week custodial sentences suspended for two years. They were also ordered to carry out 200 hours community punishment and to pay £750 prosecution costs.

Gemma Burrows was ordered to do 200 hours community punishment and to pay £600 prosecution costs.

David Cocks QC for Markwell said his client had an exceptionally low IQ and severe learning difficulties.

He said that his client suffered from a mental disability, which had lowered his culpability for the offence.

Philip King, for Middleton, said that since leaving school he had been in work. He said Middleton had felt genuine feelings of friendship for Mr Ponder and felt genuine remorse for what had happened.

On the night in question Middleton had drunk too much alcohol and had been swept along with what happened.

Stephen Dyble, for Weavers, said that when she had taken Markwell and Middleton to meet Mr Ponder she was unaware that they had an ulterior motive. When she picked up the boys later that night she was told Mr Ponder had been attacked and she had agreed to provide her sons with a false alibi without knowing how serious the attack had been.

Neil Macaulay, for Stuart Burrows, said he had felt under pressure to give a false statement to the police.

Russell Butcher, for Gemma Burrows, said she had no previous convictions and had provided a false alibi out of a misguided sense of loyalty.

And Jude Durr, for Jordan, said his client had no previous convictions, had a good work record and had not fully appreciated the seriousness of what he was doing.

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