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Tribute to victim as his killers get life

PUBLISHED: 14:20 04 March 2009 | UPDATED: 10:30 23 August 2010

TED SHAXTED: Feeding  pigeons in Trafalgar Square.

TED SHAXTED: Feeding pigeons in Trafalgar Square.

THE family of disabled man who was murdered by a brutal gang have paid tribute to the victim calling him a popular member of the community .

THE family of disabled man who was murdered by a brutal gang have paid tribute to the victim calling him a 'popular member of the community'.

Four men were convicted of the murder of defenceless Ted Shaxted, 36, of Wallis Park, Gravesend, last week and jailed for life after a trial at Maidstone Crown Court.

He was brutally attacked in his own home on December 2, 2007 and died two weeks later at Darent Valley Hospital from multiple injuries sustained during the vigilante-style attack.

Mr Shaxted's family were not in court when the verdicts were given on Wednesday, but released the following statement as a fresh image of the victim emerged.

It reads: "Ted died as a result of a senseless and brutal attack. He was a kind and loving brother and uncle and is sorely missed by all his family and friends.

"Ted was a defenceless and disabled man who suffered serious health problems all his life. Despite this he chose to be independent and was a popular member of the community around Wallis Park.

"The investigation and trial have been a trying experience for us and we are relieved that this ordeal is now over and those responsible have faced justice.

"These four men have deprived Ted and us of the life he deserved. We hope that in time those responsible will understand the devastation they have caused by their actions."

It took the jury of four men and eight women three days to return their guilty verdicts after a trial lasting several weeks.

Kelvin Horlock, 31, of Hatfield Road, Strood; Bill Saunders, 28, of Shamrock Road, Gravesend; Trevor Lees, 36, of London Road, Northfleet, and Marvin Service, 33, of Brandon Street, Gravesend, all denied murder. Lees admitted to a charge of manslaughter, which was also denied by the other three defendants.

During the trial, the court heard how all four men played their part in a brutal attack on Mr Shaxted at his home on Sunday, December 2, 2007.

The beating had been arranged after Mr Shaxted crashed a car belonging to Horlock's mother.

Judge Michael Lawson, QC, gave all four men life sentences for "brutally battering Mr Shaxted to death" and recommended they serve the following minimum sentences.

Horlock is to serve a minimum of 16 years. Service and Saunders are to serve a minimum of 14 years and Lees, 13 years and 8 months.

The judge told all four men: "You had taken the law into your own hands in a completely disproportionate way to punish Mr Shaxted for what you perceived as a lack of respect towards you."

michael.adkins@archant.co.uk

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