Two men and a woman found guilty of the murder of former Doncaster man Barry Smith in Derbyshire last autumn have been sentenced to life imprisonment.
Vincent Aitken, aged 44, must serve a minimum of 22 years and 118 days while Nathan Doherty was sentenced to a minimum of 18 years 118 days. Emma Aitken, 19, must serve a minimum of 12 years.
The charred body of 48-year-old Mr Smith, originally from Armthorpe, was discovered by local dog walkers outside Kilburn Welfare Social Club in the Amber Valley, Derbyshire, on the morning of October 6 last year.
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 Kilburn, died as a result of blunt force trauma to his face.
The three were found guilty of the murder at Leicester Crown Court - but 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 in the club, where Pamela and Vincent Aitken were stewards, the previous week.
Jurors were told Pamela repeatedly called Mr Smith a racist name derogatory to members of the travelling community. Mr Smith’s partner, Rowena Pearson, confronted Pamela 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. But Doherty, Vincent Aitken and Emma Aitken carried out the assault in revenge for Pamela losing her job.
Emma Aitken and Doherty were arrested after neighbours called police when they heard the couple arguing and starting a fire. They were burning clothes Vincent Aitken had been wearing during the assault.
Mr Smith, described by his family as ‘a proud gypsy’, had lived in Kilburn for six years. In court to hear the verdict were his former wife, Dawn, his four children and members of his family who travelled to each day of the seven-week trial from their homes in Doncaster and North Lincolnshire.
Mr Smith was dad 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.