Two men jailed for killing Cheltenham man
25 January 2019, 14:50 | Updated: 25 January 2019, 14:56
Two men have been jailed for a total of 33 years for killing CJ Hall in Cheltenham.
The 28-year-old died after a brutal alleyway attack last summer.
Michael Saunders and Tom Bryan were caught on camera chasing CJ into an alleyway after trying to disguise themselves by Saunders wrapping clothing around his head and Bryan using his hood.
CJ was then "ferociously" attacked by being punched, stamped, and jumped on which caused extensive damage to his head and neck. He died the following day.
Michael Saunders, 25 and of Delavale Road, Winchcombe previously admitted murder and was sentenced to life imprisonment with a minimum term of 20 years.
Tom Bryan, 21 and of Priory Street, Cheltenham faced a 12-day trial at Bristol Crown Court for murder. He was acquitted of this charge and the jury found him guilty of manslaughter. He was jailed for 13 years.
Bristol Crown Court heard Bryan was angry at CJ as he was alleged to have burgled his sister Lauren Bryan's home in July the previous year. He had denied the allegation to friends.
On the night of the attack Lauren, 28 and of Alstone Lane, Cheltenham had been at the Frog and Fiddle pub with friends when she saw CJ and became involved in an argument with him. Lauren spoke with her brother on the phone and was heard shouting to CJ that her brother Tom was on the way.
She admitted an offence of encouraging or assisting the commission of assault or affray, which relates to the phone call she made to her brother Tom. She was sentenced to 15 months imprisonment.
The investigation into CJ's murder was a large and complex enquiry which involved eight scenes, five vehicle seizures, hundreds of metres of roads searched and over 200 witnesses. During sentencing the Judge, HHJ Peter Blair QC, praised the excellent work of police. He also praised Major Crime Investigation Officer Phil Spragg for his hours spent trawling through CCTV.
The Senior Investigating Officer in the case, Detective Inspector Neil Rice of the regional Major Crime Investigation Team (MCIT), said:
"These convictions and sentences are the result of detailed and relentless work, carried out by specialist investigators to trace those responsible for CJ's murder and gather evidence to prove their involvement.
"This was a collective effort from MCIT staff, Crime Scene Investigators, and local officers from Cheltenham to piece together forensic evidence, phone calls, hours and hours of CCTV, and to trace witnesses in order to establish what happened in the lead up to, and aftermath of, CJ's death.
"It has been a lengthy and complex investigation, but owing to the help and bravery of several eye-witnesses, including volunteers from the Cheltenham Guardians, and the hard work of all involved, we secured two guilty pleas last year and a guilty verdict at trial.
"CJ was attacked on a warm summer's evening, when many people were out in Cheltenham enjoying the success of England's world cup team in their match against Sweden. Regardless of the motive behind this attack, no-one should experience the brutal ordeal which CJ went through and our thoughts remain with his mother, father, family and friends."