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Gang Jailed For Killing Vulnerable Man
A gang have been jailed for more than 80 years for the murder of dad of 2 in North Shields.
Zahid Zaman, 43, was the ring leader of a cultish gang from North Tyneside that turned on Jimmy Prout, 45, and began months of torture leading up to his death.
Describing him as "an evil, vindictive, manipulative and devious man'', Mr Justice Dove jailed him for life with a minimum term of 33 years after a jury convicted him of murder.
He accused him scouring the internet and local soup kitchens to find vulnerable people he could control, before coming across Mr Prout and making him his lackey.
Newcastle Crown Court heard the abuse began after a series of events in late 2015 had created tensions in the group, which included him having his teeth knocked out with a hammer and chisel.
Eventually Mr Prout died on February 9 2016, and his body was dumped on wasteland.
Under the directions of Zaman, the group then set about covering their tracks as well as fleecing his bank account, asking people if they had seen Mr Prout as they pretended to look for him.
Ann Corbett, 26, was also convicted of murder, after she assisted Zaman in his campaign of brutality, and was jailed for life with a minimum term of 27 years.
The court heard she had shared a bedroom with Mr Prout and would have seen the suffering he endured and even watched him die, but did nothing to stop it.
Mr Justice Dove said words could not to do justice to the brutality Mr Prout endured or how they all had betrayed him, saying "what he suffered was beyond imagining''.
He said the case involved the "sadistic torture of a vulnerable victim'' which was "designed to inflict excruciating pain'' and "monstrous violence''.
Myra Wood, 50, and Kay Rayworth, 56, were both cleared of murder but convicted of causing or allowing the death of a vulnerable adult, after they "fell under the spell'' of Zaman.
Rayworth was jailed for 12 years and four months, Wood was jailed for nine years.
Both were told they could have saved Mr Prout from what happened to him and given "the help common humanity cried out for''.
All four defendants had previously admitted perverting the course of justice.
During the seven-week trial the jury were shown CCTV images, often taken from cameras Zaman had on his house, of the worsening condition of Mr Prout as the assaults continued.
Footage from October 18 2015 shows him walking and jogging. But the next clip, from February 5 2016, showed him staggering along, being pushed by Corbett, before slumping on a fence.
The last clip showed all four defendants with Mr Prout and he was in a "dreadful condition'', supported by Corbett and Rayworth, as they walked him along the street.
That was the last time he was seen on any footage and it is alleged he remained there until his death.
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