Two brothers have been jailed for life after they made an 85-year-old convicted pedophile drive to a remote location before the pair murdered him.
Matthew and Luke Roe killed Henry Thwaites, who was friends with their mother, after getting him to drive them to Lime Tree Avenue, Worksop, in northern England, on July 23. Nottingham Crown Court heard the Roe brothers learned Thwaites had inherited £34,000 ($42,244). They also believed he had sexually abused someone they knew.
Jurors were told that Thwaites offered to buy a car for the brothers and had thought he was taking them to see a Mercedes on the night he was killed.
Compared with other crimes in the U.K., homicide has a relatively low number of victims, although the latest figures show an annual increase. In the year ending in March 2022, there were 696 homicide victims, a 23 percent increase on 2021, when 566 victims were registered. In comparison, the U.S., which has a population roughly five times larger than the U.K., reported 26,031 homicides in 2021, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Thwaites was taken out of his Fiat Punto at about 10:40 p.m. that day and beaten to death in what police described as a brutal attack. The brothers then took his bank card and used it at a number of ATMs after they obtained the correct PIN.
Thwaites’ body was located the following day under a metal fence, and it was found he had suffered 26 head injuries, including skull fractures.
Matthew, 25, and Luke, 34, were arrested after they were seen driving Thwaites’ car less than an hour after he was reported missing.
Police found Thwaites’ bank card in their possession and his blood on the brothers’ clothing. Detectives also saw CCTV footage that showed the pair boasting about the murder.
During their trial, the court heard how both brothers “loathed” Thwaites after he served two prison terms for sexual offenses against boys under 16.
Luke, from Worksop, and Matthew, from Jackdale, central England, were convicted of murder on May 26, following a nine-week trial at Nottingham Crown Court. They were both handed life sentences when they appeared in court on Monday, June 5.
Matthew was also found guilty of four counts of fraud by false representation in relation to the bank-card use. Luke was found guilty of one count of fraud by false representation and criminal damage after damaging a car windshield using an unopened beer can.
Abby Dixon, 27, who was in a sexual relationship with Matthew, was found guilty of two counts of assisting an offender. She helped the brothers dispose of clothes in a garbage bin. She will be sentenced on June 12.
During sentencing, Judge Nirmal Shant said: “This was a preplanned, joint attack by both of you, in which each of you played a part.
“After the killing, you drove away, leaving him [Mr. Thwaites] either dying or dead on the ground. You used a fearsome weapon upon the deceased,” Shant added.
“It was an implement that was never found, but it was heavy enough to shatter his skull. This was a vicious, violent attack.”
After the sentencing, Detective Inspector Kaz Smithson, who led the investigation, said: “This was a brutal and cowardly assault on a frail and vulnerable 85-year-old man.
“The murder was premeditated and callous, with Matthew and Luke Row subjecting Mr. Thwaites to a horrific death for their own selfish gain,” Smithson added.
“Despite overwhelming evidence, neither brother had the courage to accept responsibility for their sadistic and vile actions, forcing a jury to sit through nine weeks of distressing evidence.”
Smithson said: “Matthew claimed he was too drunk to remember the night in question, and I am pleased jurors saw through his lies. Luke wasn’t even brave enough to go in the witness box.
“They have shown no remorse whatsoever, and our communities are undoubtedly safer with them behind bars.”
Newsweek has contacted the Nottinghamshire Police Crime Commissioner for comment via email.