Victim: Jonathan Dews
THREE friends who tortured a Batley man to death before setting his body on fire have been locked up for a total of at least 75 years.
Nathan Redmond, Scott Crutchley and Jordan Metcalfe were jailed last week after being convicted of the gruesome murder of 42-year-old Jonathan Dews following a four-week trial.
Mr Dews was from Batley but had been living in supported accommodation on Brighton Street in Wakefield in the weeks leading up to his death.
Redmond, 21, Crutchley and Metcalfe, both 24, all from Wakefield, viciously assaulted Mr Dews at the property before tying him up and gagging him, dragging his body into the cellar and setting him alight in the early hours of September 6 last year.
In the hours after the murder the trio got a taxi to Scarborough but were arrested later that day having tried to hide from police at the end of the pier.
They were all jailed for life, Metcalfe and Redmond with a minimum of 27 years and Crutchley with a minimum of 21 years.
Sentencing the three men, Mr Justice Jay said: “I am satisfied that all three of you were in the thick of it in the first phase of this attack in Jonathan Dews’s bedroom. This was brutal, vicious, explosive, mindless violence.”
He added: “This was a protracted, terrifying death which has left the court emotionally numb. Even after four weeks of this trial, I still do not understand what triggered it.”
Leeds Crown Court heard that Mr Dews – who was addicted to class-A drugs and was prescribed methadone – moved into the property, run by a project for the homeless which provides support to vulnerable people, a few weeks earlier.
Redmond and Metcalfe also lived at the property, while Crutchley rented a room nearby.
The trio had been drinking and taking cocaine in Wakefield city centre pubs with Mr Dews the day before the murder, but the court heard that they decided to murder him because ‘smackheads always talk’.
They all returned to the house and the defendants then attacked Mr Dews in his bedroom and dragged him onto the landing.
The court was told that the victim suffered more than 90 injuries to his body during the incident which lasted two-and-a-half hours.
Neighbours reportedly heard screams over ‘a considerable period of time’ as Mr Dews was struck on the face, head and body and suffered injuries to his skull, facial bones and brain.
The gang cut part of Mr Dews’s ear off and sliced his neck with a razor blade and a spoon was put into the wound and moved around in a bid to speed up his death. He was also stabbed in the head and body.
Crutchley and Metcalfe left the property at one point during the incident, and when they came back Redmond was sat at the top of the stairs eating a pot noodle next to the unconscious victim.
The judge said: “I am satisfied that Jonathan Dews died in the cellar as a result of bricks being thrown at him over a significant period of time, and that he was conscious during part of that period.
“I am sure that you, Nathan Redmond, were directly involved in the throwing of these bricks, although I am not satisfied that you, Scott Crutchley, did this. You were assisting Nathan Redmond and Jordan Metcalfe in other ways, including cack-handed attempts to remove evidence.
“Once life was extinct, an equally inept attempt was made by those in the cellar to set light to all the evidence, including of course Jonathan Dews’s body. Some evidence disappeared as a result of the firefighters’ prompt actions in extinguishing the fire.”
In a statement, Mr Dews’s family said: “Today, we have got justice for Jonathan. Words cannot describe the torment of losing him in such horrific, brutal circumstances. The pain and suffering he endured throughout that night will haunt us forever.
“The trial has been harrowing for us, an ordeal that no family should ever have to go through. Jonathan was a kind, caring person who would do anything for anyone, a quality that we all admired.
“We would like to say thank you to everyone involved in the investigation who helped to bring Jonathan’s killers to justice.”
Det Sup Nicola Bryar, the senior investigating officer, said: “Jonathan Dews was subjected to a horrific and sustained attack by people he thought were his friends and he could trust.
“All three men attempted to cover their tracks and all lied and blamed each other for the killing.
“They tried to destroy evidence by setting fire to the property and tried to evade justice by fleeing to Scarborough.
“They have shown no remorse for their actions and continued to lie throughout the court case.
“Jonathan’s family have had to endure the horrific details of the violent and prolonged attack that he suffered.
“They have been left absolutely devastated by his death and I hope this sentence gives them some comfort and closure for what has been a harrowing trial to sit through.”