|Lee James (left) & Stephen Norley|
By Steven Morris
A man who killed a disabled neighbour in a vicious vigilante attack because he wrongly believed he was a paedophile will serve at least 18 years in prison for what the judge branded an "act of murderous injustice".
Lee James, 24, murdered _____ two days after police arrested the victim following unfounded complaints that he had a sexual interest in children.
_____, a 44-year-old Iranian refugee described as gentle and harmless by his family, died after James repeatedly stamped on his head. James and another neighbour, Stephen Norley, 25, then dragged his body from his Bristol maisonette on to a triangle of grass, doused it with white spirit and set it alight. Norley was jailed for four years for assisting an offender.
Police have apologised for failing to protect _____, who had been subjected to a campaign of harassment, and the police watchdog, the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC), is investigating 11 officers and staff over the tragedy. Three officers who had dealings with _____ have been interviewed under criminal caution by IPCC investigators for the potential offence of misconduct in public office.
Nick Gargan, the chief constable of Avon and Somerset police, said the case was a source of huge regret, adding: "It is clear that there was a collective failure on the part of statutory agencies and others to protect Mr _____. We need to have some frank and candid local discussions with our partners and our communities about what we collectively can do to stop this happening again."
- Oh it will happen again! Vigilantism is a HUGE issue due to the online registry and sex offender hysteria driven by the media, politicians and others.
Bristol city council has also launched an inquiry to find out if it could have done more to help _____, who was housed by the local authority. The mayor, George Ferguson, called it an "exceptional crime" that did not represent the city.
The victim's family have said they feel let down by the authorities. His sister, _____, claimed he had long been subjected to abuse because of his race and his disability. She said he had come to the UK in 2000 aiming to make a better life for himself but had long been targeted because he appeared different from his neighbours.
Moores said: "The question that now must be answered is whether _____'s death could have been avoided had he been afforded the protection from the authorities he deserved. Lessons must be learned before other vulnerable lives are lost."
- As long as human beings roam this Earth, you will never prevent all crimes!
Tony Murphy, the family's lawyer, said _____ had suffered "unimaginable pain" and was the victim of a hate crime. It emerged that just before he was killed, _____ had emailed police telling them he did not feel safe in his home.
Kerry McCarthy, the Bristol East MP, said issues that needed to be addressed included why the police did not make it clear that _____ was blameless after he was arrested and why he was left on an estate where he appeared not to be welcome.
_____ was called a paedophile after taking photographs of youngsters he suspected of vandalising hanging baskets at his home in Capgrave Crescent – and images of parents drinking in front of children, a practice he strongly disapproved of.
Bristol crown court was told that in the early evening of 11 July, there was a confrontation between _____ and James. Andrew Langdon QC, prosecuting, said: "Lee James was shouting at Mr _____, telling him in abusive terms to stop taking pictures, to give him the camera, to delete the photographs."
- This just goes to show the mentality of people now due to the media hysteria over "pedophiles!" Now anybody taking photos of children is a suspected "pedophile," and may be killed due to the hysteria!
James flagged down a police car driven by a community support officer and told him that _____ had been "looking at my kids". James said that if the police did not act he would deal with the situation himself. He said he was not scared of going to prison and would do anything to protect his children.
- And now he is in prison for a long time due to his ASSumptions!
_____ was arrested by police on 12 July. When he was taken away, neighbours cheered. He was allowed to return home and was murdered in the early hours of 14 July.
- Yep, everybody is immediately ASSumed to be guilty instead of innocent until proven guilty. Thanks media, politicians, you have corrupted the justice system and turned it upside-down. This man was innocent and now he is dead due to the mass hysteria.
Jailing James for life, Mr Justice Simon said he would serve a minimum term of 18 years before being considered for parole.
The IPCC said two police constables who attended Capgrave Crescent on the evening of 11 July, and another constable who was made aware of issues regarding _____ the following day, had been interviewed under criminal caution by IPCC investigators for the potential offence of misconduct in public office.
A sergeant and a constable who had contact with _____ in custody on 12 July have been interviewed for gross misconduct and remain subject to investigation. A control room supervisor, a dispatcher and four call handlers who dealt with phone calls from _____ have also been interviewed by the IPCC for gross misconduct.
In addition, investigators have carried out house-to-house inquiries, taken statements from members of the public and reviewed CCTV evidence from the custody suite at Broadbury Road police station where _____ was taken.
It has looked at contacts _____ had with the police going back "a number of years" and liaised with agencies including Bristol city council to look at issues such as housing and antisocial behaviour.
The IPCC commissioner Jan Williams said: "The conduct of a total of 11 officers and civilian police staff remains subject to our investigation. We have had ongoing dialogue with the Crown Prosecution Service and at the conclusion of our investigation I will be considering whether to send them a file of evidence in respect of any officers."
Sue Mountstevens, Avon and Somerset's police and crime commissioner, said the behaviour of James and Norley had been abominable.
- What about the police who did nothing to protect the deceased?
She said: "I have critical questions for the police and other agencies about the events leading up to Mr _____'s death. I am determined to look publicly at what could or should have been done differently."
- You could've spread the facts about the man and about sexual abuse instead of bogus statistics, that is a start!
"I will be holding a public meeting involving the police, Bristol city council and any other organisations involved so that questions can be asked and any lessons learned in order to prevent anything like this from happening again."