Teens who hacked factory worker to death with samurai sword jailed

3 September 2020, 06:48 | Updated: 3 September 2020, 06:55

Kiyran Earnshaw, 18, and Luke Gaukroger, 16, have been jailed for hacking a factory worker to death with a samurai sword
Kiyran Earnshaw, 18, and Luke Gaukroger, 16, have been jailed for hacking a factory worker to death with a samurai sword. Picture: PA

By Kate Buck

Two teenagers who hacked a factory worker to death with a samurai sword and tried to decapitate him have been jailed.

Robert Wilson, 53, suffered more than 100 wounds after Kiyran Earnshaw, 18, and 16-year-old Luke Gaukroger launched their horrific attack in Huddersfield.

Mr Wilson had gone to investigate the pair hanging around outside the Thornton and Ross pharmaceutical plant with colleagues Paul Thewliss and John Badejo. Mr Badejo was seriously injured trying to help his friend.

Audio recorded from Mr Wilson's phone call to a security firm captured Gaukroger - who was 15 at the time - shouting "get his head, I want to cut his head, Kia I want to cut his head".

The court heard the youths - who were heavily intoxicated - passed the 20in sword between them as the Mr Wilson plead with them to stop.

Both killers have been jailed for life, with Earnshaw being ordered to serve a minimum of 22 years and Gaukroger a minimum 16 years and eight months.

Robert Wilson suffered more than 100 wounds in the attack
Robert Wilson suffered more than 100 wounds in the attack. Picture: PA

Leeds Crown Court heard that Mr Wilson was married with two grown-up children and enjoyed gardening, golf and walking in the Yorkshire Dales.

His wife Elaine told the court his death was "completely incomprehensible", adding: "How on earth have we come to this and why?"

She said she was sickened to receive a letter from one of the defendants saying it was the "worse night of my life and 'I'm sorry'".

She said to the defendants: "I want you to know you have taken the life of a much respected, admired and good man."

Peter Makepeace QC, prosecuting, told the court that Earnshaw started the attack after producing the blue sword from inside his tracksuit bottoms.

Mr Makepeace said the pair paused at one point to catch their breath and to rifle through Mr Wilson's pockets, taking his coat.

The prosecutor said that, after they resume the attack, "Earnshaw and Gaukroger together holding the sword and making an effort to decapitate their victim.

Mr Makepeace said Earnshaw was Tasered twice before he was arrested and officers used an incapacitant spray on Gaukroger.

Both defendants admitted murdering Mr Wilson and Earnshaw admitted causing Mr Badejo grievous bodily harm with intent.

Sentencing the pair, the judge said: "As he lay dying, you used the sword in repeated attempts to cut off his head.

"You ended his life and you brought lifelong misery and grief to his wife, his two stepchildren and his other family and friends."

The sword used in the attack
The sword used in the attack. Picture: PA

The judge said: "This frenzied and senseless attack on a man who was quite unable to defend himself went on for about 10 minutes."

He said: "I have watched the recording and it is a truly gruesome sight, made all the more ghastly by the fact that your blows and words, including your abuse of this dying man, and his attempts to speak, were being recorded, because he had begun a telephone call to the firm's security company."

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