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Vigilante style murder: FOUR sent down

PUBLISHED: 10:36 26 February 2009 | UPDATED: 10:30 23 August 2010

VICTIM: Ted Shaxted

VICTIM: Ted Shaxted

FOUR men have been found guilty of murdering a 36-year-old man in a vigilante style attack. Ted Shaxted, 36, of Wallis Park, Northfleet, was bundled into his bath and beaten and kicked by a gang on December 2, 2007. As the Reporter went to press on Wedne

FOUR men have been found guilty of murdering a 36-year-old man in a vigilante style attack.

Ted Shaxted, 36, of Wallis Park, Northfleet, was bundled into his bath and beaten and kicked by a gang on December 2, 2007. As the Reporter went to press on Wednesday jurors returned to court deliver the guilty verdicts after three days of deliberation.

Judge Michael Lawson said: "This operation was clearly organised by the defendant Mr Horlock who demonstrated the arrogance of a man who believed punishment is yours to deliver."

Leading the painstaking investigation, DCI John Coull said: "Ted Shaxted was a much loved uncle and brother and was well liked in the community.

"A defenceless man, he had grown up with disabilities but had made a life for himself.

"His death was senseless and brutal. It has been very hard for the family who have had to wait almost 10 months before they could lay him to rest because of the complexities of the case."

Paramedics found a scene resembling an "abattoir" when they were called to the victim's flat and he died from chest injuries two weeks later in hospital.

The court heard how Kelvin Horlock, 29, from Strood organised a "slap" for Shaxted in retaliation for him taking and crashing his mother's car, and taking her spaniel dog.

Horlock claimed he was at the George and Dragon pub on Galley Hill Road on the evening of the attack.

Judge Lawson said: "One of the crucial issues in this case is that the defence say there was a conversation that he [Shaxted] was out of order and that the evidence shows this."

On Friday he finished summing up the case against Horlock, Bill Saunders, 27, of Shamrock Road, Gravesend, Trevor Lees, 35, of London Road, Northfleet and Marvin Service, 33, of Brandon Street who are all charged with murder.

Judge Lawson said: "The case against Bill Saunders is a classic example of circumstantial evidence. Four separate strands, none of which on their own could show guilt, they have to be taken together to convict."

Shaxted told police one of his attackers had a beard and gave a description believed to match Saunders at the time. The victim also remembers one of his attackers calling out "Come on Billy".

A coat allegedly worn by Saunders had a brown stain found to contain Shaxted's DNA.

Using mobile phone mast data, a mobile allegedly belonging to Saunders places him at the George and Dragon pub. His alibi was that he was at a horse fair and the West Court Inn all evening.

Judge Lawson said it was for the jury to decide whether a different phone given to police three days after the attack was a "decoy".

Trevor Lees admitted manslaughter and the jury was told that he confessed to his probation officer that he "regretted the attack" and that he and two others "did not intend to kill Shaxted."

A palm print from Service was found at the crime scene, but Shaxted could not recall seeing a black man. All four denied murder in a trial that lasted several weeks.

Horlock was jailed for 16 years. Service and Saunders received 14 years and Lees received 13 years and eight months.

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