Robertsbridge Farm Trial

Seven men have been jailed for their part in a burglary during which a Sussex businessman was crushed to death.

Julian Gardner was killed after he interrupted the gang of professional burglars as they ransacked property at his farm in East Sussex.

The 52-year-old was found dead by his business partner less than 100 yards from his home at Bush Barn Farm, off the A21 near Robertsbridge, several hours after the burglary on October 11, 2010.

Today at Lewes Crown Court, Judge Anthony Scott-Gall told brothers Marcus and Terrence Bristow they had been the prime movers in the burglary and jailed them for 11 years each.

Lee Delay and Christopher Leek were described as foot soldiers in the gang and were sentenced to seven years and four-and-a-half years' imprisonment respectively.

Paul Dunn was jailed for seven years, Oliver Payne for three and Terrence Dunn was sentenced to 18 months.

Four of the men - Terrence Bristow, 42, of Chart Road, Great Chart, near Ashford, Kent; Marcus Bristow, 32, of Mock Lane, Great Chart; Delay, 23, of Whitegate Close, Tunbridge Wells; and Dunn, 33, of Fryth Crescent, Cranbrook, were found guilty by majority verdicts of Mr Gardner's manslaughter yesterday following almost 22 hours' deliberation.

Terrence and Marcus Bristow, Delay, Dunn, Leek, 30, of Pear Tree Close, Cranbrook, and Oliver Payne, 25, of Sandhurst Road, Tunbridge Wells, were found guilty of conspiracy to commit burglary and conspiracy to pervert the course of justice earlier yesterday afternoon.

Dunn, 57, of Tanyards Estate, Sandhurst, Kent, was also found guilty of conspiracy to pervert the course of justice, while Payne was found not guilty of manslaughter.

The jury was unable to come to a verdict on the manslaughter charge in relation to Leek and it was formally discharged by Judge Scott-Gall.

Family statement from Julian's mother, Molly Gardner and sister, Anna Murphy.

"Thanks to the justice system of this country those responsible for this appalling crime have now been found guilty which as far as we're concerned was the only possible outcome.

"Those criminals now convicted appear to have shown no remorse for their actions. All those present that night bear responsibility and must live with Julian's death on their conscience forever.

"They know that they will eventually be released from their sentence. However, we as Julian's family will never be released from our sorrow.

"We particularly wish to thank the Sussex Police, not only for their meticulous work in bringing these criminals to justice, but also for their boundless courtesy and sensitivity which they have shown to us from that first terrible day. We also wish to thank our prosecuting counsel, Christine Laing and Mia Wellfare for their dedicated work and total confidence in this case from the outset.

"Our Julian was above all a good and decent man who worked hard all his life. Before he had the opportunity to sit back and enjoy the results of his lifetime's work, these men who have been convicted felt they had the right to steal all that Julian had worked for but succeeded only in robbing him of his life.

"All those that loved Julian are united in the grief we feel at the loss of this special son, brother, father and friend."

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