Barmaid's mum believes justice is done
JANET Fleming's mum Freda believes Leon Sobers would not have thought twice about killing her daughter.Today Mrs Fleming said she was certain Sobers would have dealt the fatal blows if it had been he, rather than Damien Duberry, who had confronted the Harley's barmaid.
JANET Fleming's mum Freda believes Leon Sobers would not have thought twice about killing her daughter.
Today Mrs Fleming said she was certain Sobers would have dealt the fatal blows if it had been he, rather than Damien Duberry, who had confronted the Harley's barmaid.
The passage of time has done little to dull the pain. However she is delighted Sobers appeal against his murder conviction failed.
"I am very pleased because had the position of Sobers and Duberry been reversed I have no doubt whatsoever that Janet would have suffered at Sobers hands especially in view of his history of violence," said Mrs Fleming, who lives in Sudbury.
"He was armed with a knife and Duberry had a gun. Clearly their aim was to stop by any means, anyone who got in the way. I felt the argument that Sobers was not involved in the actual attack was purely academic. Duberry got there first and they are as bad as each other."
Mrs Fleming praised the initiative to put up the reward put up by The Evening Star and Pubmaster which led to a crucial witness coming forward to identify Sobers and Duberry as the killers. She also thanked all media for keeping the investigation in the public's mind.
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"I'm all for any means at all that can help to catch criminals," she said. "I think it is very important that people are kept aware and I'm sure it helped. I would like to thank all the media that helped."
Throughout the past two and a half years Mrs Fleming has been dealt two devastating blows. Within months of Janet being murdered, her father Brian died. Mrs Fleming, who is now in her mid 60s, believes the loss of his daughter was just too much for her husband to bear and that he died of a broken heart.
Each day she tries to just get by, knowing that although things have changed forever she has no alternative but to carry on.
"The way my daughter died is something I will never, ever come to terms with, but I am learning to live with it," said Mrs Fleming.
"Things have been harder that I could ever have imagined. I feel that I have been in an abyss and I am beginning to climb out of it. I know there will be times ahead when I will find myself teetering on the edge. But I am beginning to feel now that it does not have to be that way if I can do things that will keep me clinging on to any handhold to avoid falling back,
"For a long time I felt quite helpless to do anything about it. But I can see the light that was promised at the end of the tunnel. I know I have got a long way to go, but I think I am getting there. Maybe two steps forward and one step back."
Since the murder Mrs Fleming has been consoled by Janet's daughter Naomi and the barmaid's many friends who have continued to provide the love and support which sustains her through the torment
"I have had tremendous support from Janet's friends," she said. "We have become very, very close and I am still seeing a bereavement counsellor who is helping.
"I was never a believer in counselling of any sort but I have to admit she is helping enormously and my doctor has been absolutely wonderful.
"My granddaughter Naomi has also been wonderful. She is a strong girl like her mum and she's getting on with her life. It has helped her to deal with everything. I can't imagine how it must have felt for her to lose her mother in such circumstances. She is a terrific girl."
Mrs Fleming also praised the detectives who brought Sobers and Duberry to justice.
Over the past 30 months Mrs Fleming said the bond between her and detective constable Viv Yarham, who was her family liaison officer, has become stronger. She also spoke highly of detective chief inspector Tim Beach, the man who was in charge of the case, and detective chief inspector Rick Munns.
"They still keep in contact and I see them from time to time," she added. "Their support has been wonderful. It all helps."