AS TWO Thatcham brothers began life sentences for murder this week, the family of the victim told of their anguish.
Darren Lock, aged 38, bled to death at his flat in Bramble Court, Newbury, and his friend, Danny Black, aged 34, suffered extensive internal bleeding and permanent loss of sight in one eye on the night of March 16.
Last Friday, Joshua Anderson was told he must serve at least 23 years and Matthew Anderson faces a minimum of 22 years for the night of bloody mayhem.
There were cries of “Yes” from the public gallery and some family members wept as the initial verdicts were returned.
Following a five-week trial at Reading Crown Court, the jury found Joshua and Matthew, aged 22 and 20 respectively and both of The Haywards, Thatcham, guilty of Mr Lock’s murder.
Joshua Anderson was also convicted of the attempted murder of Mr Black, while Matthew Anderson and Dean Robinson, aged 32, of no fixed abode, were cleared of the same offence.
Matthew Anderson was also convicted of wounding Mr Black with intent to cause grievous bodily harm and of assaulting Richard Phillips in Stroud Green on the same night. Joshua Anderson had previously admitted assaulting Mr Phillips.
Matthew Anderson was cleared of assaulting Rory Rowbottom, also on the same night.
On Monday a third defendant, 32-year-old Dean Robinson, of no fixed address, was cleared of murdering Mr Lock, attempting to murder Mr Black and wounding him with intent to cause grievous bodily harm.
Mr Lock’s family said in a statement: “Justice has been done. This has been an extremely difficult time and we are grateful. Darren’s death has been traumatic for all of us. It has affected us all very deeply and will forevermore.
“The trial has only added to our trauma – listening everyday to everything that happened that night. There are no words to express our feelings for the two defendants convicted today. Not only did they take Darren’s life they changed ours completely. Darren will not only be missed by us as his family but by his extended family and friends too.”
The statement went on to thank prosecuting counsel Neil Moore and the police, particularly detective constables Densel McIntosh, Alison Bennett and Corrine Cameron.
Senior investigating officer, Det Chief Insp Joe Kidman said “These sentences reflect the appalling violence of these unprovoked attacks. The murder of Mr Lock, defenceless in his own home, is all the more tragic because he was not himself a part of the longstanding feud which lay behind what happened.
“The victim of attempted murder was lucky to escape with his life and has suffered life changing injuries.”
He added: “As the investigation progressed it became clear that the Anderson brothers had planned their brutal rampage. Their violence not only left one man dead and another seriously injured but they continued to confront and attack other members of the public they encountered.
“The prompt, effective response of local and specialist officers was important in bringing these two dangerous individuals to justice and keeping the West Berkshire area safe. I would also like to thank the team who pieced together the evidence of what happened that evening in a careful professional investigation.”
Speaking on behalf of Danny Black’s family, family friend Michelle Jefford said: “We would like to say that we are happy with the outcome of the Anderson brothers although disappointed with the outcome of Dean Robinson.
“We would like to thank everyone involved including the witnesses, Mr Moore and the police for helping to get justice. The last six weeks have been very difficult and emotionally draining.
“We are now able to move forward with our lives, although Danny has a long way to go. Our deepest thoughts are with Darren’s family and now may he rest in peace.”
During the trial the jury heard how a long-standing feud between the Andersons and the Black family erupted into violence, with innocent bystanders being swept up in it and attacked.
The Anderson brothers used Dean Robinson's friendship with Darren Lock to gain entry to his flat that night.
In the fracas that followed, Mr Black was stabbed in the eye, chest and armpits.
He told the jury Joshua Anderson set upon him with a knife as Matthew Anderson stabbed Mr Lock.
Giving testimony Mr Black said: “He [Joshua] said, “Are you Danny Black?” so I said ‘Yeah.’ Then I saw he had a knife in the palm of his right hand. “He said: ‘I’ve got this for you,’ kissed the blade and stabbed me in my armpit. I tried to put my arms out to stop him doing it again. I was still being held, and he stabbed me in the eye.”
Mr Black escaped but Mr Lock, who was not involved in the family feud, was found with 19 knife wounds to his scalp, legs and hands. The fatal wound was a stab wound to his calf, from which he bled to death.