The UK's fastest-growing regional news network
12°C | 5°C
9°C | 7°C
11°C | 4°C
See the full forecast for your area.
Sponsored by Britelite.
Home Sheerness News Article
Four thugs have today been locked up for life for brutally murdering a man whose body was found half-naked on a Sheppey beach in a sickening revenge attack.
Mark Terry, 44, his son Matthew, 21, Christopher Bones, 21, and 16-year-old Ritchie Zborowski were told they will serve a minimum of 76 years between them behind bars before being considered for parole.
Jamie West, 19, who was convicted of the manslaughter of Gary Pocock, was sentenced to seven years in youth custody. He will serve half his sentence.
Mark Terry's wife Lisa, 33, who admitted perverting the course of justice during the trial, was also jailed for 14 months.
Mr Pocock had been lured to the beach in a revenge attack - after a girl claimed he had sexually assaulted her - and savagely beaten with baseball bats before being dumped on the sand in Warden last August.
He had suffered 62 devastating blows to the head, face and body - caused by baseball bats as well as kicks and stamps - in a brutal display of violence.
Sickeningly, CCTV footage captured Bones cheering as he left the scene of the brutal and frenzied killing.
And a 999 call released by police today captures the moment Mark Terry broke down in fake tears as he lied about the last time he saw the victim.
The jury last month returned unanimous verdicts on Mark and Matthew Terry, of Grantham Road, Manor Park, east London, and Bones, of Dorothy Gardens, Dagenham, Essex.
Zborowski, of Sea View Gardens, Warden, and West, of Cliff View Gardens, Warden, were convicted by a 10-1 majority.
The identity of Zborowski can only be reported today after Judge Jeremy Carey agreed to lift a banning order after an application by KentOnline.
The judge told Mark Terry he will serve a minimum of 26 years, Matthew Terry he will serve at least 19 years, Bones at least 18 years and Zborowski at least 13 years.
All five were unanimously found guilty of perverting the course of justice. They denied all the charges.
None gave any reaction to their sentence today other than Zborowski, who waved at the public gallery.
Only Mark Terry did not go into the witness box to give evidence about what happened the night Mr Pocock was beaten to death.
The 34-year-old caretaker's half-naked body was found on the sand off Warden Bay Road by a man with a metal detector on the morning of August 7 last year.
Mr Pocock was not identified until the following day when a description of a distinctive signet ring he had been wearing was reported by the media. His partner, Wendy Polley, recognised it and contacted police.
The prosecution alleged Mr Pocock, from Dagenham, east London, was the victim of a punishment attack after a girl claimed he had sexually assaulted her.
Mark and Matthew Terry, Bones and Mr Pocock were all staying at holiday chalets in Leysdown.
Passing sentence, Judge Carey spoke of the "horrifying and frenzied" attack on Mr Pocock, who was unable to defend himself from both the onslaught on the beach - and the subsequent attacks on his character during the trial.
Video: Police at the beach where Gary Pocock's body was found
DCI Jon Clayden, of the Kent and Essex Serious Crime Directorate, said: "From start to finish, the web of lies this group attempted to spin to cover up what they had done is nothing short of staggering.
"As far as Gary Pocock was concerned, Mark Terry was as close to a best friend as he had and there was no reason for him to be suspicious of going on a night out around town with him and a selection of friends he knew well.
"CCTV footage on the night shows them drinking together, seemingly enjoying themselves, yet unbeknown to Mr Pocock, the group had plotted to 'teach him a lesson' and ultimately lured him to his death. What had started off originally as a planned beating ended up being a savage and deathly attack, which was undoubtedly fuelled by alcohol.
"With the help of Lisa Terry, they tried to cover their tracks and even went as far as telling Mr Pocock’s partner that the body found was not him. Not content with that, Mark Terry shamefully sent his son Matthew to Barking to pretend to be Mr Pocock and send messages to his partner, all in an attempt to stop her calling police."
He added: "The turning point in this investigation came when we issued an image of a ring worn by the victim and we were soon able to identify the body. Yet still the group lied through their teeth, sticking to the story that Mr Pocock had met another woman and had gone back to Essex with her.
"Following a lengthy and through investigation, we were able to prove beyond all reasonable doubt that four members of this group were responsible for this callous and unprovoked murder of a man they previously viewed as a good friend. One other member was found guilty of manslaughter.
"Our deepest sympathies remain with Mr Pocock's partner and his family who have had to go through a trial and have what happened that night dragged back up. I do hope the fact these five have been tried and found guilty for the horrible and cowardly crime they committed will be of some comfort to those close to Mr Pocock."
Click here for more news from Sheerness.
Click here for more news from around the county.