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New Year’s Eve killer gets life

PAUL BROWN: described by the judge as a dangerous man
PAUL BROWN: described by the judge as a dangerous man
VICTIM: Marco Schiroli
VICTIM: Marco Schiroli

A FORMER Kent doorman, 37-year-old Paul Brown, is today starting a life sentence after being convicted of murder.

A deafening shout of “Yea” went up as a jury of seven men and five women reached their unanimous verdict at Maidstone Crown Court.

Marco Schiroli died from a single stab wound to the chest inflicted by Brown on New Year’s Eve, 2002.

Brown, who claimed he never saw the need to carry any kind of weapon, plunged a knife into Mr Schiroli's heart and into his back during a brief but violent struggle outside the Vineyard wine bar in Rochester.

At the time of his death, Mr Schiroli was 29 years old and lived with his mother in Rochester. Though unemployed, he was training as a fork lift driver.

Sentencing Brown, Judge Andrew Patience, QC, told him: “You have been found guilty by a unanimous verdict of the jury of the wilful murder of Marco Schiroli and it is a verdict with which, if I may say so respectfully, I entirely agree.

“It is quite clear that you left the Vineyard public house deliberately set upon confrontation.”

The judge said it was not clear when he had acquired the knife but he had used it deliberately, with two clean, swift stab wounds, as a result of which Mr Schiroli lost his life, causing misery to his family that would probably last forever.

The judge added: “You are a dangerous man. The public deserve long protection from you.”

Earlier Judge Patience made reference to a letter he had seen, written by the mother of the victim. He said: “It is a moving and very sad letter. This is a lady who had lost her husband some years ago, who is now devastated by the loss of her son.”

During the trial, the jury heard how Paul Brown and his friends fled in a Jaguar as Mr Schiroli lay dying in the street. The paths of the two men had crossed before, as prosecutor Stephen Hockman, QC, told the court.

But it might be thought that Mr Schiroli did nothing to provoke or justify what Brown did that night. “He was a young man who enjoyed a drink and who from time to time smoked cannabis,” said Mr Hockman.

“It is accepted that during the course of the day he had had a certain amount to drink and indeed from analysis after his death, he was somewhat inebriated.

“However, and you may think that important, there is no evidence that he behaved aggressively or unpleasantly towards anybody.”

Brown, who on that day had been moving from his flat in New Road, Chatham, to a new address in John Street, Rochester, had worked as a bouncer at some licensed premises both in the Rochester area and in Maidstone.

“It would seem that it was in that capacity that Brown came across his victim, but it is not clear whether they knew one another by name,” said Mr Hockman.

“What is clear, however, is that Brown knew Mr Schiroli by sight, because he had dealings with him previously, on at least two occasions.

“He regarded Mr Schiroli as someone who, at the very least, was in his eyes prone to misbehaviour - whether Mr Schiroli had in truth done anything whatsoever to justify that does not matter.

“You may think it is a reasonable inference that Brown took the view Mr Schiroli needed to be shown the error of his ways, or to be taught a lesson of some kind.”

On any view, Brown had a knife on New Year’s Eve 2002, and he used it to inflict the most terrible lesson upon his victim.

Mr Schiroli, as the court heard, had spent that evening with a friend, Dean Mills, and they had visited several pubs in Rochester before approaching the vicinity of the Vineyard.

As they walked past, Mr Mills tapped on the window of the Vineyard - where Brown and two associates were having a drink - and within moments the three men rushed into the street.

As Mr Mills told the jury in his evidence: “As I got closer to the window I tapped on it twice, reasonably hard.

“Marco said: ‘What did you do that for?’ I said I was mucking about.”

But as the two friends continued on their way up Maidstone Road, the door of the Vineyard opened suddenly and three males rushed out.

“I turned to Marco and said, ‘Oh, here we go’. I thought it was a confrontation situation.”

Mr Mills was himself knocked to the ground and could not see clearly what happened to Marco.

“The next thing I knew about Marco was when I heard someone say ‘run’. I saw feet running on the opposite side of the cars and that’s when I found my feet and went to Marco to see what had happened to him. I found Marco there, dying.”

By this time none of the three men were still at the scene. They had disappeared in a Jaguar saloon. Brown eventually fled to Spain and was arrested six months later.

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