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12 May 2014, 16:51
A man who admitted murdering his former boss in a tackle shop near Sittingbourne has been sentenced to life imprisonment.
Simon Olsen shot dead fisheries owner Steven Langley, 57, inside his own shop in Tonge on 29 November after becoming convinced the former firefighter was laughing at him behind his back.
He pleaded guilty to one charge of murder at Maidstone Crown Court on 25 April and today (Monday 12 May 2013) was given a life sentence with a minimum of 25 years to be served.
Mr Langley built the fisheries in Bax Farm with a friend in 2000 and had employed heavy drinker Olsen, 54, as a bailiff, offering him a cottage on site in 2003. The pair initially had a good relationship, with Mr Langley paying part of Olsen’s rent, but their relationship deteriorated after Olsen became increasingly erratic and aggressive.
Mr Langley fired Olsen from his job three years ago but allowed him to stay in a caravan on the site. However, he was served an eviction notice by the landlord on the weekend of 12 November when he fell behind with his payments.
In the weeks leading up to the murder, Olsen told his sons and ex-partners that he was scared he would end up on the streets and had nowhere to go. He complained Mr Langley had been making jokes about Olsen’s partner leaving him and said he wanted to kill Mr Langley but was not taken seriously as he had made such threats before.
At 2.45pm on 29 November, Olsen walked into the Fishery Shop where Mr Langley was working and shot him once in the upper abdomen with a double-barrelled shotgun.
He had visited the shop several times early that afternoon looking for Mr Langley. When questioned by other staff, Olsen said he wanted Mr Langley’s permission to shoot a duck.
Another member of staff and some customers had noticed him walking around with the shotgun before he entered the shop for the final time.
The employee and the customers were in the car park when they heard a shot fired. Olsen came walking out of the shop and fired another shot up into the air before walking off. The employee went back into the shop to find Mr Langley had been shot in the chest and called 999.
Olsen returned and ordered the staff member to come with him as a hostage. The employee walked off with Olsen before running back to the shop and locking the door.
Kent Police officers arrived on the scene and tried to resuscitate Mr Langley before ambulance staff arrived. However, the father of two was pronounced dead at the scene.
Officers found Olsen waving the gun in the air. He was arrested on suspicion of murder.
In interview, Olsen told officers he was scared to live alone or on the streets as he was worried he would have another heart attack. He said Mr Langley was ‘jealous’ and had made derogatory remarks about Olsen’s wife.
Officers charged him with murder in the early hours of 30 November.
Olsen’s family and friends told police he was a violent man who had become increasingly paranoid that Mr Langley was laughing at him behind his back.
Senior investigating officer, Detective Inspector Gavin Moss of the Kent and Essex Serious Crime Directorate, said: ‘Mr Langley’s murder was a horrendous and unnecessary act of violence.
‘Olsen had become increasingly resentful of his former boss, insisting that the victim was making fun of him after his wife left him. Although Mr Langley had topped up Olsen’s rent for him while he was in his employ, he was forced to fire Olsen after he started spreading untruths about him. This triggered years of pent-up rage in Olsen, all directed at Mr Langley when Olsen refused to accept he was responsible for losing his own job.
‘When the landlord visited the offender to give him his eviction notice when Olsen stopped paying his rent, Mr Langley came along as a witness, and this may have been the catalyst for his untimely death.
‘Somehow, Olsen convinced himself that shooting Mr Langley was the only way to end the troubles and told his friends that at least in prison he’d have a roof over his head.
‘His paranoia and refusal to see sense led him to pick up the shotgun that day, walk into the shop and shoot Mr Langley point-blank in the chest, giving him absolutely no opportunity to defend himself. In those few minutes of madness, Mr Langley’s wife became a widow, his two children lost their father and his grandchildren will have to grow up without their grandfather.
‘Our thoughts are with them today and perhaps Olsen’s substantial prison sentence will give him the opportunity to finally see how heinous and cruel his actions were.’