Killers failed to get sentence cut

TWO men jailed for murder following a vicious New Year's Eve attack in Hadleigh have failed in a bid to have their prison sentence cut.

TWO men jailed for murder following a vicious New Year's Eve attack in Hadleigh have failed in a bid to have their prison sentence cut.

Anthony Ralph and Stuart Foote, both 32, were caged for life by a judge at Norwich Crown Court for brutally punching and kicking 17-year-old Shane Champion to death in a 15-minute attack at a High Street flat in 1998.

At London's High Court yesterday, Mr Justice Lloyd Jones refused to reduce the period they must serve before they are considered for release on parole.

Foote, of Ansell Close, Hadleigh, must remain behind bars for at least 18 years and Ralph of Tayler Road, Hadleigh, for 15 years.

The pair, with another unidentified man, had gone looking for Mr Champion's flatmate, Bradley Treadwell, who they had assaulted the previous day.

They burst into Mr Champion's flat asking where Mr Treadwell was, before turning on the teenager.

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Foote banged Mr Champion's head against the kitchen door, a wall and a fuse box. When he fell to the floor, Foote kicked him in the face and stamped on his head.

Ralph was also said to have kicked him in the stomach and chest.

At one point Ralph dragged Foote out of the flat, but he returned to deliver two more brutal kicks.

Mr Champion lapsed into a coma and died three months later on March 7 1999.

Ruling that the pair were not entitled to a reduction in the time they should spend in jail before being considered for release the judge said: “This was a vicious, premeditated and sustained attack which was totally unprovoked.

“I am unable to accept there was no premeditation on the part of Ralph.

“He and Foote were clearly out looking for trouble and intending to use violence.

“Furthermore, I am unable to accept the submission that there was in the case of this applicant an absence of intention to kill.”

However, the judge ruled that the 11 months the pair spent in custody before they were sentenced should count towards their sentence.

Before they are freed, both men will have to convince the parole board it is safe to do so. When freed, they will remain on perpetual "life licence", subject to prison recall if they put a foot wrong ever again.

Do you remember the case? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

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