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Girl tried to help killers evade capture

VICTIM: Scott Upton
VICTIM: Scott Upton

A TEENAGE girl has been sentenced to three years youth custody for her part in disposing of clothes and weapons after the murder of a father-of-three Scott Upton.

Sandy Chaplin, 17, formerly of Gillingham, was found guilty of perverting the course of justice in August.

At her sentencing Judge Andrew Patience lifted an order protecting her identity, meaning she can be named for the first time.

Chaplin had stood trial with Neil Smitheman, 25, and another man, Kieran Morris, who are both serving life sentences for the savage killing of Mr Upton.

But Chaplin returned to Maidstone Crown Court to be sentenced for her part in trying to help Smitheman and Morris evade capture in the immediate aftermath of the murder, in Rainham last October.

Her barrister, Isobel Ascherson, said: "She’s a girl who got caught up with savage men who committed a savage offence. And who’s only real offence was not to have separated herself from them immediately and reported it.

"The trauma she must have suffered by witnessing a savage murder at the age of 16, and the threats she was under from her boyfriend, who was considerably older than her, must be taken into consideration along with her previous good character."

Judge Patience told Chaplin: "For this grave crime there must be a custodial sentence, not only to punish you, but to serve as a warning to others who may be considering assisting people who commit wicked crimes.

"You played a clear part in the direction and cleaning of clothes and those terrible weapons, a knife and a crowbar."

On agreeing to lift an order protecting her identity, Judge Patience said: "There is a strong public interest where a defendant is convicted of such a grave crime. The public are entitled to know who did it."

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