John Newton: Three men guilty of murdering Redcar dad

John Newton
Image caption John Newton died after suffering 60 internal injuries

Three men, including a father and son, have been found guilty of kidnapping and murdering a father from Teesside.

Disabled John Newton, 45, suffered 60 internal injuries after being bundled into a van and assaulted in Redcar, on 19 March, Teesside Crown Court heard.

Andrew Jackson, 25, George Thomas Jr, 52, and his son, Stephen Thomas, 30, who denied the charges, were convicted after a six-week trial.

Grandfather George Thomas Sr, 77, was cleared of kidnap and murder.

George Thomas Jr, of Charlbury Road, Thomas, of Penhill Close, and Jackson, of Cornforth Avenue, all Middlesbrough, were jailed for life with a minimum of 20 years.

The judge Peter Fox QC ordered a retrial in the case of a fifth man, Lee Woodier, 25, of Shelley Road in Saltersgill, after the jury failed to reach a verdict on the murder charge against him. He was found guilty of kidnap.

Image caption The three were jailed for a minimum of 20 years

All the men had denied the charges.

'Pain and horror'

The court heard the Thomas family suspected Mr Newton of stealing up to £35,000 from 77-year-old Mr Thomas, of Wykeham Close, Redcar.

Police believed he was innocent of the theft.

The court heard how Mr Newton was taken down a deserted track outside Middlesbrough and badly beaten.

The father-of-two, who had epilepsy and was registered disabled, died two days later.

Det Supt Gordon Lang, of Cleveland Police, said: "John's life was cut needlessly short and he endured a tragic and completely unnecessary end.

"George Thomas Jr, Stephen Thomas and Andrew Jackson decided to take the law into their own hands and carry out what they thought was their own justice."

In a statement, Mr Newton's family said: "Our family take no joy in the outcome for those involved but feel a sense of relief at the guilty verdicts; this goes part way towards justice for John, an innocent family man who was murdered in pursuit of revenge for a theft he did not commit.

"The pain and horror of losing John in such horrendous circumstances can never be put into words and no amount of remorse from his murderers will ever bring forgiveness."

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