Jordan Cunliffe fails in judicial CCRC and tariff reviews

One of the killers of Garry Newlove – who was kicked to death outside his home after confronting vandals – has lost a High Court action in his fight to have his conviction overturned.

Leading judges rejected a challenge by Jordan Cunliffe against a decision by the independent body, which investigates possible miscarriages of justice, not to refer his case to the Court of Appeal for review.

Sir Brian Leveson and Mr Justice William Davis, sitting in London yesterday, dismissed a claim for judicial review by 27-year-old Cunliffe against a decision last year by the Criminal Cases Review Commission (CCRC).

Cunliffe is serving life for his part in the alcohol-fuelled killing of 47-year-old father-of-three Mr Newlove in 2007.

He was one of three teenagers found guilty of murder by a jury at Chester Crown Court in January 2008. He was 16 at the time of conviction.

Mr Newlove, who had overcome stomach cancer, suffered massive head injuries in the attack at his home in Warrington, Cheshire, and died two days later.

The ruling was the second blow in a week for Cunliffe, who failed to persuade another High Court judge to reduce his 12-year minimum term – the least he must serve before becoming eligible to apply for release on parole – which expires in August.

Sir Brian, ruling in the CCRC case, said it was submitted on Cunliffe’s behalf that “there was nothing in the evidence” to show that he was a participant in the attack on Mr Newlove at the time of the fatal blow.

He went on: “This submission is untenable.”

Sir Brian said: “The evidence as a whole showed that he was participating throughout the incident involving Mr Newlove.”

He added that the trial judge’s direction to the jury “made it perfectly clear that a defendant could not be convicted unless he were proved to be party to the joint enterprise when the fatal blow was struck”.

Earlier, Mr Justice Spencer, ruling on Cunliffe’s application for a tariff reduction, said he had “undoubtedly made very good progress across a wide range of areas”, but it could not be said that “overall his progress has been both exceptional and unforeseen”.

He added: “The absence of true remorse and the complete lack of an acceptance of any responsibility for the part he played in the murder is an important negative factor, although not conclusive in itself.”

It was “greatly to his credit” that Cunliffe had developed into a “mature and responsible young man”.

Mr Justice Spencer said: “The confidence which the Parole Board has shown in the applicant by transferring him to a category D prison, in open conditions, and by approving significant periods of release on temporary licence, is also greatly to his credit.

“The process of parole will have to take its course once the applicant has served the minimum term set by the trial judge, which expires in just a few months’ time in August 2019.

“The fact that the date is so imminent would not have deterred me from recommending a reduction in his minimum term had that course been justified, but it is not.”

Mark Leech, Editor of The Prisons Handbook and Converse newspaper, said Jordan Cunliffe’s case had been ‘littered with serious flaws’ every time it came before the courts.

Mr Leech said:  “From the wrongful directions on joint enterprise given to the jury in Jordan’s case, made clear in the later case of Jogee which even the CCRC accepted could have made a difference at his trial, to secret victim impact statements handed to the High Court under the table by the now ‘Baroness’ Newlove, the deceased’s wife, and later roundly criticised by the Court of Appeal – Jordan’s case has been littered with serious flaws every time it has come before the courts.

“it’s hard to understand what more this young man has to do to ensure justice is done in his case.”

Read the court’s judgement here

Prisoner plotted £637K smash-and-grab raid from prison cell on smuggled phones

Market Cross Jewellers CCTV
Market Cross Jewellers CCTV

A prisoner has been convicted of joint enterprise in plotting two armed robberies from his jail cell by using illicit mobile phones.

Designer watches worth £637,000 were snatched in raids on Teesside branches of the Market Cross Jewellers in Yarm and Middlesbrough, and the shocking robberies were caught on CCTV.

Eight men from Manchester and Teesside admitted conspiracy to rob after the gang made crucial errors in executing their carefully-laid plans.

But Ian Ogden, 27, an inmate of Forest Bank Prison in Salford, denied being involved. He was convicted on Wednesday of two counts of conspiracy to rob following a trial at Teesside Crown Court.

The jury was shown dramatic images of both raids in which display cabinets were smashed, and a handgun was wielded in one robbery.

Ogden was almost 150 miles (240km) away in a cell in Liverpool when the smash-and-grab robberies were carried out.

But Richard Bennett, prosecuting, told the jury: “Ian Ogden may not have worn a mask or brandished a weapon but he was part of a criminal agreement to rob the two shops.”

The prosecution said he used illicit smuggled phones to link the Manchester and Teesside criminals during the planning and execution of the crimes.

Only one watch has been recovered out of the haul of stolen items.

Ogden and the other eight men, who admitted the charges, will be sentenced at a two-day hearing on a date to be arranged.

Joint enterprise killer has tariff appeal refused


One of the first joint enterprise killers of Garry Newlove – who was kicked to death outside his home in Warrington after confronting vandals – has had a bid for a reduction in his 12-year minimum term rejected by a judge at the High Court.

Jordan Cunliffe, now in his early twenties, is serving life for his part in the alcohol-fuelled murder of the father-of-three.

In a ruling given in London Mr Justice Mitting said he did not recommend a reduction in the tariff, which is the minimum term to be served before Cunliffe is eligible to apply for release on parole.

Cunliffe was one of three teenagers found guilty of murder by a jury at Chester Crown Court in January 2008. He was aged 16 at the time of conviction.

Mr Newlove, a 47-year-old salesman, who had overcome stomach cancer, died following the incident outside his home in 2007.

He suffered massive head injuries in the attack, which was witnessed by his daughters, and died two days later in hospital.

Mr Justice Mitting said that as was Cunliffe’s right he had applied for a review of his minimum term.

The ground at the centre of the application for a tariff reduction was that there had been exceptional and unforeseen progress while in custody.

Giving the background to the case, the judge described Mr Newlove as a “brave and upright man”.

He had re-read a five-page typed statement, dated September 30 2014, submitted by Mr Newlove’s widow Baroness Newlove “which describes the impact which her husband’s murder has had upon her family, with particular emphasis on the impact on her three daughters”.

The judge continued: “She has asked that this statement is not made public or disclosed to the applicant, for particular reasons, which have been notified to me by the Ministry of Justice.

“I accede to that request. What it does is to demonstrate, graphically, how deep and lasting the affect of the dreadful crime committed by the applicant and his associates has been; and, inevitably, how unwelcome to his widow and daughters has been the need to prepare themselves for the outcome of my decision on this application.”

Mr Justice Mitting said that throughout Cunliffe has maintained that he was not guilty of the offence, denying being at the scene of the attack.

He was sentenced on the basis that he had not started the violence, but had, on the evidence of an eye witness, “kicked him, unshod, during the attack”.

The judge added: “Nothing in any subsequently produced material casts doubt on that conclusion.”

He said: “He was convicted and sentenced on the basis that he did participate in the fatal attack, even though he personally did not deliver the lethal kick.”

Mr Justice Mitting said: “Given his attitude to the offence, it is unsurprising that the applicant has never expressed remorse for his part in it.

“This does not, of course, mean that he must be detained until he does, but it is a factor of high significance when assessing whether or not the progress which he has made in custody has been exceptional and unforeseen.”

In conclusion the judge, who said that exceptional and unforeseen progress was a “high threshold”, announced: “The reports demonstrate that the applicant has made good progress in custody, which could not have been foreseen with certainty at the time when he was sentenced, but it would be a misuse of language to describe that progress as exceptional, either by reference to the standard of conduct to be expected of prisoners generally or to what might have been expected of him when sentenced.”

He said: “Accordingly, I do not recommend that the minimum term … be reduced.”

Muslim Accused Of Intimidating Prisoners To Convert To Islam

Jude Odigie

A Muslim jailed for his involvement in the killing of a woman at a christening party has been accused of bullying and intimidating jail inmates to convert to Islam, it was revealed today.

The accusations, which also include gang activity in prison and possessing a home-made weapon, came to light as the High Court in London rejected Jude Odigie’s challenge to his transfer from a private prison to a high security jail.

Odigie, 24, was a teenager when he was convicted of manslaughter and sentenced at the Old Bailey in February 2007 to detention “for public protection” and ordered to serve a minimum period of seven years, three months, eight days.

He was part of a gang which invaded a christening party at a community centre in Peckham, south London, and stole mobile phones and handbags.

A shot was fired by another member of the gang and hit a woman, who was holding a baby, in the head. The baby was unharmed but the woman, Zainab Kalokoh, 33, died later in hospital.

Odigie was sentenced on the basis that he was involved in the “joint enterprise” attack on the christening party, although he did not personally fire the gun.

Odigie was held at various prisons until he was moved in June 2012 to Lowdham Grange, a Category B training prison for men operated by Serco Ltd in the East Midlands.

His cell was searched on October 12 2012 and a tin opener was found which came apart, with one handle sharpened to a point. A plastic handle was also found wrapped in bootlaces into which the sharpened point could fit to make a weapon, the High Court heard.

The following day, at a specially convened hearing at the prison, he said he had borrowed the tin opener quite innocently, and the plastic handle was something he used in the course of his weight training.

Odigie was told he was being segregated due to intelligence suggesting he was involved in bullying and intimidating other inmates and being in possession of a home-made weapon.

He was then moved to Full Sutton high security prison.

He launched a High Court challenge and asked deputy judge Philip Mott QC to quash the transfer decision and return him to Lowdham Grange on the basis the move was procedurally unfair and an abuse of power.

Julian Coningham, his solicitor advocate, argued at a one-day hearing in November that the prison authorities failed to follow proper procedures and did not wait for the result of an adjudication on the allegations against Odigie before the transfer took place.

Today, Judge Mott said Odigie’s application for judicial review “fails on all grounds”.

The judge said a gist of the accusations against him “does set out a consistent pattern of information pointing to pressure being put on other prisoners to convert to Islam, and the use of threats to those who do not comply”.

The cell search was “prompted by intelligence, and proved to be absolutely justified”.

The judge added: “The discovery of a home-made weapon in his cell appeared to substantiate this intelligence.”

He ruled: “In my judgement the undisputed facts and background were sufficient to justify action being taken without waiting for the result of the adjudication.

“The finding of the weapon was a serious matter. The background of perceived threats and bullying clearly had to be borne in mind also, but was not needed to justify taking action.

“In those circumstances, any difficulties in judging the reliability of the security information do not undermine the decision to act.”