Northern Ireland

Matthew Goddard murder: Turner brothers jailed for minimum of 17 years

Flowers were left outside Matthew Goddard's house where his body was found over Christmas 2014
Image caption Matthew Goddard's body was found in his house in Chobham Street over Christmas 2014

Two brothers who murdered a man in a "sustained, pitiless and horrifically savage attack" have been told they will serve a minimum of 17 years in jail.

William and James Turner beat Matthew Goddard to death in his home in Chobham Street in Belfast on 23 December 2014.

They punched, kicked and battered him with an electric guitar before stamping on his head, the judge told the court.

Belfast men William Turner, 37, of Glenlea Grove, and his brother, 30, of Dunraven Court, pleaded guilty in May.

They were both sentenced to life imprisonment, but returned to Belfast Crown Court on Friday to hear how long they will have to serve before being considered for release.

The court was told that Mr Goddard was murdered after he allegedly insulted the younger brother, by saying he was "a sandwich short of a picnic".

Drinking

During the fatal attack, which lasted about 10 minutes, the brothers made their 41-year old victim crawl and apologise for the remark.

His body was discovered the next evening - Christmas Eve - wrapped in a curtain at the bottom of the stairs.

He was believed to have been alive when the Turner brothers, and co-accused Christian Walker, left his house.

The judge said that in the hours before the murder, the brothers had been drinking alcohol and taking cocaine.

While they were drinking in the King Richard pub, William Turner got into a fight with another man over a game of pool and gouged his eye, leaving the man completely blind in the eye.

According to the judge, William Turner later admitted that he had intended to "give Matt a good slap" for insulting his brother.

Smashed

"After they secured entry to his house, William Turner and James Turner subjected the victim to a sustained, merciless and brutal assault," the judge said.

"They used fists, feet and smashed an electric guitar over his head with such ferocity that it smashed in to pieces."

As well as the murder sentence, William Turner was also given a discretionary life sentence with a tariff of 10 years for blinding his other victim.

Co-accused Christian Walker, who was with the Turners as they carried out the murder but who did not participate, provided a false alibi for the pair.

The 27-year old, from Ribble Street in Belfast, later gave a full and frank admission to police about what happened to Mr Goddard.

Walker was given a suspended prison sentence for perverting the course of justice.

Mercy

Speaking after the hearing, Mr Goddard's widow said the sentence "didn't really matter to me" and "that is not going to bring my husband back."

Maureen Goddard, who is originally from Zimbabwe, was attending a family funeral in her native country when the murder happened.

She said her Christian faith "waivered" at the time, but she has since found the strength to forgive her husband's killers.

"But when they meet their maker, they will be judged," she added. "May God have mercy on their souls."

Mrs Goddard said her husband was a "wonderful" stepfather to her two children.

"I love him and miss him every day and I just feel so alone now - I never even got the chance to say goodbye to him," she said.

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