Hereford & Worcester

Inheritance murder couple jailed for life

Tom Holt - archive image
Image caption The couple attacked Mr Holt in their car, police said

A couple have been jailed for life for murdering a man shortly after he had inherited money from his mother.

Shaun Stokes, 32, and his partner, Petra Stokes, 27, both from Ledbury, Herefordshire, were convicted of murder over the death of 36-year-old Tom Holt.

The body of Mr Holt, from May Hill, Gloucestershire, was found in the River Frome in October 2009.

The couple, of Hasnett Road, weighed his body down with rocks, police said.

'Despicable crime'

Shaun Stokes was told to serve a minimum of 24 years and Petra Stokes has to serve a minimum of 19 years - both minus 413 days spent on remand.

The drug users had befriended Mr Holt and attacked him in their car, the West Mercia force said.

Detectives said the victim received head injuries before being dumped in the river.

The couple were charged after police discovered the pair were using the victim's bank cards to access his newly-found wealth, the force said.

Det Ch Insp Damian Barratt said: "The motive for this despicable crime was greed.

"Shaun and Petra Stokes knew Tom had come into some money and decided they would kill him for it. They used the money to feed their drug habits."

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