Two men and a woman found guilty today of the murder of Barry Smith in Kilburn in October last year have been sentenced to life imprisonment.
Vincent Aitken, 44, must serve a minimum of 22 years and 118 days; Nathan Doherty was sentenced to a minimum of 18 years 118 days and Emma Aitken, 19, will serve a minimum of 12 years.
The body of 48-year-old Mr Smith was discovered outside Kilburn Welfare Social Club, Chapel Street, on the morning of October 6, last year by local dog walkers.
He had been beaten to death using pool cues and a fence post and his body had been set alight. A post mortem examination revealed Mr Smith, of Mayfield Avenue, Kilburn died as a result of blunt force trauma to his face. Three people have been found guilty of the murder of Barry Smith in Kilburn.
Vincent Aitken, 44, of Chapel Street, Kilburn Emma Aitken, 18, and Nathan Doherty, 27, both of Portland Street, Derby, were today, Friday, June 13, convicted of killing the father-of-four following a six-week trial at Leicester Crown Court.
Aitken’s wife Pamela Aitken, 40, was found not guilty of assisting an offender.
The court heard the attack was carried out as a result of an incident that took place in the club, where Pamela and Vincent Aitken were stewards, the previous week.
Jurors were told Pamela Aitken repeatedly called Mr Smith a racist name that is derogatory to members of the travelling community.
Mr Smith’s partner confronted Pamela about this and wrote a letter to the club’s committee. Pamela quit her role as stewardess before the committee meeting.
Mr Smith believed the incident had been resolved and had been drinking in club the night before his death.
The trio, Doherty, Vincent Aitken and Emma Aitken carried out the assault in revenge for Pamela losing her job at the club.
Emma Aitken and Doherty were arrested at their home in Portland Street after neighbours called police when they heard the couple arguing and starting a fire in a communal garden.
They were burning clothes Vincent Aitken had been wearing during the assault.
Vincent was arrested later that day.
All four were later charged in connection with Mr Smith’s death.
Detective Inspector Lisa Macintyre, who led the investigation, said: “Barry Smith was a family man who was popular and was well liked and respected in the community of Kilburn”.
“He was subjected to a prolonged, savage attack and it is incomprehensible to me that three people could do this to another human being.
“It was an utterly barbaric act and one that Mr Smith’s family have found hard to come to terms with.
“I hope today’s convictions allows them to try to put this horrific event behind them and move on with their lives.”
There was gasps of “yes” in the public gallery as each guilty verdict was read out.
And there were instant sobs of relief from most members of Mr Smith’s family who were in court to hear the verdicts.
Moments later, there were loud gasps of shock when Pamela Aitken was found not guilty of assisting an offender.
Following the verdicts, a heart-breaking impact statement from Mr Smith’s partner, Rowena Pearson, was read to the court.
Tears continued as Miss Pearson’s statement described how Mr Smith had been “the love of my life”.
“We would have been together forever,” it read. “I have lost everything in life.
“I’ve got no heart for anything any more. Barry was the best thing that ever happened to me.”
Mr Smith’s burnt body was discovered by two dog walkers outside Kilburn Welfare Social Club on the morning of October 6 last year.
The 48-year-old was beaten to death with a fence post dragged to a pile of rubbish and his body set alight. Mr Smith, previously described by his family as “a proud gypsy” had lived in Kilburn for six years.
He lived in Mayfield Avenue and his cause of death was multiple injuries. In court to hear the verdict were his former wife, Dawn Smith, his four children and members of his family who have travelled to each day of the seven week trial from their homes in Doncaster and North Lincolnshire.
Mr Smith was a father to daughter Billy-Jo, 22, and sons Barrie-John, 20, Luke, 19, and Nathan, 16. He also had three grandchildren – Josephine-Star, two, Selina-Louise, one, and eight-month-old Arlie-John.