Thursday 24 August 2017

Father and sons found guilty of murdering two teens and baby in act of revenge

(left to right) Peter Eyre with his sons Simon Eyre and Anthony Eyre who have been convicted of the murder of two teenagers and a six-month-old baby girl after setting a deadly blaze at a flat in Langley Mill, Derbyshire Credit: Derbyshire Police /PA Wire
(left to right) Peter Eyre with his sons Simon Eyre and Anthony Eyre who have been convicted of the murder of two teenagers and a six-month-old baby girl after setting a deadly blaze at a flat in Langley Mill, Derbyshire Credit: Derbyshire Police /PA Wire

Richard Vernalls

A father and his sons have been found guilty of murdering two teenagers and a six-month-old baby in an act of revenge after a row over a stolen moped.

Peter Eyre, 44, Simon Eyre, 24 and Anthony Eyre, 22, were convicted of setting a fire at a flat in Langley Mill in Derbyshire, after a trial at Nottingham Crown Court.

A jury today returned unanimous verdicts against all of the men after three days of deliberations.

The deadly blaze claimed the lives of 17-year-old Amy Smith, her baby daughter Ruby-Grace Gaunt and friend Edward Green, also 17.

Her partner and the baby's father 18-year-old Shaun Gaunt and another man were rescued from the flat.

During the trial, prosecutors said Peter Eyre had waited in the car, while his sons set the blaze using petrol poured by the flat's only exit.

Opening the Crown's case last month, James House QC told jurors: "It was set using petrol which had been poured in the area immediately outside the front door.

"That front door was the only means of entry and exit to the flat on the second and third floor."

He added: "It was done as an act of revenge for an incident that had occurred outside the home of Peter and Anthony a few hours earlier."

A jury of six women and six men was told that the incident involved Mr Gaunt, who had been told by a friend that a third son of Peter Eyre had been involved in the theft of his moped.

"It was the theft of that moped that was to be the catalyst for the tragic events that followed," Mr House said.

"Rumours abounded as to whom was responsible for stealing it."

A dispute had taken place outside the Eyre's family home in Central Avenue, Sandiacre, at about 1.30am on June 21, last year - hours before the deadly blaze.

During the confrontation Peter Eyre's van was damaged, while he is alleged to have threatened Mr Gaunt with a hammer.

Mr Gaunt was also allegedly seen brandishing a broken bottle during the disturbance.

After the fire, a police murder investigation was launched and CCTV evidence uncovered showing the Eyres driving to the scene.

Following the verdicts, Derbyshire Police's Detective Superintendent Kate Meynell, said: "This investigation has always been about getting justice for Amy, Ruby-Grace, Edward and their families.

"What started as a dispute over a stolen moped very quickly escalated to the tragic events of that night in June. It was a foolish revenge attack gone terribly wrong.

"Amy's partner, Shaun, had accused one of Peter Eyre's sons of stealing his moped so Eyre and his older sons, Anthony and Simon, sought revenge against him.

"Nothing can bring Amy, Ed, and Ruby-Grace back but I hope these guilty verdicts will bring some sort of closure for their loved ones."

The men will be sentenced tomorrow.

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