35 Years For Man Found Guilty Of Bracknell Dad Murder
14 February 2012, 14:43 | Updated: 14 February 2012, 15:14
Thomas Haigh has been given a life sentence for the murders of David Griffiths from Bracknell and Brett Flournoy from Mersyside.
Drugs mule Thomas Haigh (pictured below), 26, must serve a minimum of 35 years for their deaths on a remote farm in Cornwall in June last year.
Ross Stone (pictured below), 28, who was cleared of the men's murders, will serve five years after admitting burning the men's bodies before burying them in their van following the shooting at his home, Sunny Corner Farm, in Trenance Downs near St Austell.
The bodies of Flournoy, a 31-year-old boxer and pub landlord with two children and father-of-three Griffiths, 35, from Bracknell, Berkshire, were unearthed after Stone confessed to having disposed of their corpses.
Both he and Haigh owed the dead men around £40,000 in drug debts.
Passing sentence at Truro Crown Court, Mr Justice Mackay told Haigh he was an "arrogant young man'' who had got out of his depth in the criminal underworld.
"These were bad men but they were bad men with the right not to be killed because trading in drugs does not carry the death penalty,'' he said.
"You were attracted to the gangster way of life, you convinced yourself you were a big boy playing in the big league.
"But I found your erratic behaviour made you unsuited to this elusive trade.
"This was no more than a result of your chosen lifestyle. You knew the rules of the criminal club you joined and you broke them.''
Speaking outside court, David Griffith's mother Janet fought back tears as she spoke of the torment her family had been put through, saying the decision to acquit Stone was "hard for us to accept''.
"Our family has been devastated by the loss of our beloved David and the horrific way in which he was murdered."
As a family we never imagined we would be standing here today and David would be gone, it really has been a living hell.
"We have had to accept the horrific way in which David was taken from us but also had to endure six weeks of worrying and looking for David.
"To find out that he was then murdered, burned and buried was truly too much to comprehend.
"We have had to endure months of unpleasant stories and statements being made about David, most of which have been completely untrue.
"This has put immense stress on all of our family but we do know that those who were close to David know the truth and the real Dave.
"We shall forever cherish the happy memories we have of him, he is missed every single day and will forever be loved.''
Haigh and Stone's four-week trial heard that the victims were gangland enforcers working for an IRA gang which "ran'' Liverpool's illegal drugs trade.
The jury took less than three hours to find Haigh, formerly of Huddersfield, West Yorkshire, guilty of two counts of murder.
Stone had previously pleaded guilty to two charges of obstructing a coroner.