Published: 16:00, 12 May 2014 |
Updated: 16:58, 12 May 2014
A paranoid man has been jailed for life today after murdering a fisheries boss in a brutal shooting at his own tackle shop.
Simon Olsen blasted former Medway firefighter Steve Langley in the stomach at the store in Lower Road, Tonge, near Teynham, after becoming convinced he was laughing at him behind his back.
Homeless Olsen, 54, held a long-standing grudge against his former boss Mr Langley, who ran Bax Farm Fisheries lake in Tonge, close to the murder scene.
He has today been given a life sentence at Maidstone Crown Court, where he was ordered to serve a minimum of 25 years behind bars before being considered for parole.
Olsen entered his guilty plea to murder on April 25 following the killing on November 29 last year.
Mr Langley's wife Lucia today branded his killer a "coward" and told how her family has been "shattered" by her husband's death.
Grandfather and father-of-two Mr Langley, 56, built the four fishing lakes at Bax Farm, owned by Oliver Doubleday, and ran a cafe and tackle shop.
He had employed heavy drinker Olsen as a bailiff, offering him a cottage on site in 2003.
The pair initially had a good relationship, with Mr Langley paying part of Olsen's rent, but their relationship deteriorated after Olsen became increasingly erratic and aggressive.
Mr Langley fired Olsen from his job three years ago, but allowed him to stay in a caravan on the site.
However, he was served an eviction notice by the landlord on the weekend of 12 November when he fell behind with his payments.
In the weeks leading up to the murder, Olsen told his sons he was scared he would end up on the streets and had nowhere to go.
He complained Mr Langley had been making jokes about Olsen's partner leaving him and said he wanted to kill Mr Langley, but was not taken seriously as he had made such threats before.
Olsen walked into the fishery shop where Mr Langley was working at 2.45pm on November 29 and shot him once in the upper abdomen with a double-barrelled shotgun.
He had visited the shop several times earlier that afternoon looking for Mr Langley. When questioned by other staff, Olsen said he wanted Mr Langley's permission to shoot a duck.
Another member of staff and some customers had noticed him walking around with the shotgun before he entered the shop for the final time.
The employee and the customers were in the car park when they heard a shot fired. Olsen came walking out of the shop and fired another shot up into the air before walking off.
The employee went back into the shop to find Mr Langley had been shot in the chest and called 999.
Olsen returned and ordered the staff member to come with him as a hostage. The employee walked off with Olsen before running back to the shop and locking the door.
Police officers arrived on the scene and tried to resuscitate Mr Langley before ambulance staff arrived. However, the father of two was pronounced dead at the scene.
Officers found Olsen waving the gun in the air and he was arrested on suspicion of murder.
In interview, Olsen told officers he was scared to live alone or on the streets as he was worried he would have another heart attack.
He said Mr Langley was "jealous" and had made derogatory remarks about Olsen's wife.
Olsen's family and friends told police he was a violent man who had become increasingly paranoid that Mr Langley was laughing at him behind his back.
Mr Langley's widow Lucia said: "I and the rest of the family are pleased and relieved that Steven's killer can no longer harm anyone else and put another family through what we have had to endure.
"Steven helped anyone in need, was popular and well-known throughout the Medway and Swale community.
"My husband's life was ended because one insignificant nobody, a coward, planned and executed an innocent and defenceless man in cold blood simply because of his perverted jealousy and failure in his own life.
"Steven was a loving and caring husband, father and grandfather. He was a good friend to everyone in his circle of friends, as well as to many outside it.
"He was dearly loved and will be incredibly missed by his family, friends and those with whom he worked.
"Unlike his killer, we cannot look forward to a parole date from the life sentence which has been imposed on me and my family.
"The cruel way Steven has been taken away has shattered us all. We have to try and live without Steven, and with the pain his death causes us all, for the rest of our lives. However Steven will never be forgotten and will live forever in our hearts."
Speaking after sentence, DI Gavin Moss, of the Kent and Essex Serious Crime Directorate, said: "Mr Langley’s murder was a horrendous and unnecessary act of violence.
"Olsen had become increasingly resentful of his former boss, insisting that the victim was making fun of him after his wife left him.
"Although Mr Langley had topped up Olsen's rent for him while he was in his employ, he was forced to fire Olsen after he started spreading untruths about him.
"This triggered years of pent-up rage in Olsen, all directed at Mr Langley when Olsen refused to accept he was responsible for losing his own job.
"When the landlord visited the offender to give him his eviction notice when Olsen stopped paying his rent, Mr Langley came along as a witness, and this may have been the catalyst for his untimely death.
"Somehow, Olsen convinced himself that shooting Mr Langley was the only way to end the troubles and told his friends that at least in prison he'd have a roof over his head.
"His paranoia and refusal to see sense led him to pick up the shotgun that day, walk into the shop and shoot Mr Langley point-blank in the chest, giving him absolutely no opportunity to defend himself.
"In those few minutes of madness, Mr Langley's wife became a widow, his two children lost their father and his grandchildren will have to grow up without their grandfather.
"Our thoughts are with them today and perhaps Olsen's substantial prison sentence will give him the opportunity to finally see how heinous and cruel his actions were."
Meanwhile, Judge Philip Statman reacted angrily this morning when Olsen was not produced from prison to be sentenced.
He said he had ordered Lewes Prison to bring Olsen to Maidstone Crown Court - or the governor would have to answer to him this afternoon.
Prosecutor Oliver Dunkin said 25 members of the victim's family and friends had attended for the sentence, some travelling from St Albans in Hertfordshire.
The judge said he was not prepared to have a situation in a case of such importance with a high level of public interest and members of the deceased's family being at court unnecessarily.
"I have directed the staff of this court to contact those in the highest position within the prison service and I have said this man will be produced for sentence, and if he is not I will summon the governor to appear before me at 2pm," he added.
"It is quite straight forward. I am told my words have been adhered to and this defendant will be at court this morning. The important thing is that justice is done in this case.
"Also, the defendant is expecting to be sentenced today and know his fate. That is going to be done today."
Judge Statman added: "I am very sorry members of the deceased's family are being kept waiting at this trying time."
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