Mother and Daughter sentenced to life

3 April 2012, 14:13 | Updated: 3 April 2012, 15:16

Shirley Banfield, who is a retired tax inspector, and her 40 year old daughter Lynette Banfield, have been sentenced for life after being found guilty of murder.

The duo killed their husband and father Don Banfield 11 years ago. Don, who was 63, was last seen in May 2001 after leaving his house. He was treated as a missing person until 2009, when his former employers William Hill became suspicious and further police investigation took place.

Both mother and daughter, of Ashford Road, Canterbury, had previously admitted charges of fraud, forgery and conspiracy to pervert the course of justice.

The couple were found guilty at the Old Bailey with a 10-1 jury verdict and have received life sentences. Shirley will receive a minimum of 18 years behind bars, and Lynette will serve a minimum of 16 years.

They had kept Don Banfield's £120,000 share of the sale of their North London property and had also fraudulently gained £64,000 from his work and state pensions through pretending he was still alive.

Lynette BanfieldShirley and Lynette had both lied to police about seeing Mr Banfield back in 2008 to cover the murder. Mrs Banfield had also attempted to mislead the police search for her husband by giving a false description for their posters.

The court heard how Mr Banfield had told the police his wife and daughter were trying to kill him after waking to find himself handcuffed to his bed. He had told of how he had been threatened with a plastic bag and a knife by Shirley, and had endured furniture polish being sprayed into his eyes by Lynette.

Jenny Hopkins, of the Crown Prosecution Service, said outside court: "Their actions were motivated by greed and they robbed a man of his life purely for monetary gain."

"Almost eleven years since Don's disappearance, his wife and daughter no doubt believed they may have got away with their crime.''

The location of Mr Banfield's body is still unknown, although Lynette's notebook may hold some clues as to what happened to it. His daughter wrote of putting a body in a car, leaving a lingering smell and burying bodies in woods.

Police believe that the women must have been helped, but know no further details. They are going to speak to the Banfields in prison and ask them to reveal the bodies location, so a funeral can be held for other family members.