Two prisoners who tied up and strangled a fellow inmate while already serving life sentences for murder have been ordered to spend the rest of their lives behind bars.
Lee Newell, 44, and Gary Smith, 48, were both handed whole life sentences by a judge at Warwick Crown Court for the “chilling” murder of convicted child-killer Subhan Anwar.
Ruling that Newell and Smith should never be considered for parole, Mr Justice Jeremy Baker said: “There is in reality no mitigating factor in either of your cases.”
Smith and Newell were convicted of murdering Anwar last week following a two-week trial.
Jurors heard that Smith calmly made Newell a cup of hot chocolate – even sweetening it with icing sugar – during a stand-off with prison staff after Anwar was killed in his cell at HMP Long Lartin in Worcestershire.
The inmates were also convicted of stealing personal items, including prayer beads, a watch and an earring, from Anwar after choking him to death inside his cell on February 14.
Both defendants refused to leave the cells at Warwick Crown Court to hear that they would never be released for killing Anwar, who was strangled with a pair of tracksuit bottoms.
The 24-year-old victim, from Huddersfield, West Yorkshire, was also serving a life term for murder, having been convicted of killing his partner’s two-year-old daughter in 2008.
During his sentencing remarks, Mr Justice Baker said he believed Anwar had not resisted because he mistakenly believed he was being taken hostage.The judge, who addressed his remarks to Smith and Newell despite their absence from the dock, said:
“You pretended that you were there merely to hold him hostage.
“I am quite satisfied that this was merely pretence on both your parts in order to ensure that the deceased didn’t resist while you tied him up.
“One of the most chilling aspects of this case was the almost complete lack of emotion shown by either of you after the killing.
“It is against this background that I have to consider whether the circumstances of this murder are such that it is one of those exceptional cases where its seriousness is of such magnitude so as to require the making of a whole life order.
“In my judgment they are – you have both murdered others before, on this occasion you did so in a cold-blooded manner, having deliberately lulled your victim into a false sense of security.
“You both acted in a calm and unemotional manner … eventually leaving (Anwar’s) cell with items of his personal property being worn as trophies of your exploits.
“You, Newell, later laughing about what you had both done.
“In these circumstances the sentence in both of your cases will be that of life imprisonment and I order that the early release provisions shall not apply.”
Newell, originally from Norwich, was jailed at the city’s Crown Court in 1989 for strangling his neighbour, 56-year-old Mary Neal.
Mrs Neal was found dead at her home in March 1988 after Newell fled to Jersey.
Smith, then of Anchor Street, Belgrave, Leicester, was jailed in 1999 along with another man for murdering 22-year-old Ali Hassan, whose naked body was thrown into a quarry at Swithland Woods, Leicestershire.Addressing their previous offences, Mr Justice Baker told the men:
“In your case, Newell, although your previous conviction for murder arose in circumstances where you had set out to obtain money from your victim, it may well be that there was a degree of spontaneity when you strangled her to death.
“In your case, Smith, although there appears to have been a degree of planning behind your previous conviction for murder, it may well be that you were not the instigator of the events which led to you and your co-accused luring your victim to a secluded area and stabbing him to death.
“I am satisfied that in contrast to those previous cases, there was nothing spontaneous about the murder of Subhan Anwar.”
Although the judge said the motive for Anwar’s murder may never be known with certainty, he added: “In the course of the trial the jury heard evidence about the type of moral code which exists within the prison population.
“A code which may be enforced by the use of verbal abuse, physical violence and even, on occasion, death.
“It may be no coincidence that the deceased in this case had been convicted of killing a young child.”
Newell and Smith were initially prepared to sit in the dock to hear sentence passed but demanded to be taken back to the cells after the judge gave permission for Anwar’s parents to sit in the well of the court rather than the public gallery.
Before being taken down to the cells, Newell swore towards those sitting on the barristers’ benches and shouted: “If they’re coming in, I’m going out.”