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A VIOLENT EDL thug who slashed a man’s throat has been convicted of murdering a Bradford grandfather.

A jury of seven men and five women has returned its unanimous verdict following a two-week trial at Bradford Crown Court.

Clement ‘Butch’ Desmier, 68, was murdered at his home in Rowlestone Rise, Greengates, on August 23, 2012.

Today, his family said the death and what he must have suffered in his final moments would haunt them forever.

During the trial, forensic pathologist Dr Christopher Johnson said the cause of death was multiple injuries, including stab wounds.

Dr Johnson said it was highly likely Mr Desmier’s injuries – which included 60 penetrative puncture wounds to his body from a screwdriver and a single typical knife stab wound to his abdomen – were inflicted while he was sat in his armchair, in the front room of his home.

Killer David Lawler, formerly of Central Avenue, Shipley, was also today found guilty of two counts of intimidation, relating to a witness who gave evidence.

The 33-year-old, who was wearing a grey suit, pale blue shirt and blue spotted tie, showed no emotion as the verdicts were given, but there were cries of ‘yes’ from the public gallery.

Co-accused Nathan Jefferson, 20, of Springwell View, Holbeck, Leeds, admitted the murder charge before the start of the trial.

Mr Justice Blake said both men would be sentenced on Wednesday, March 23.

Earlier in the trial Lawler had admitted to the jury that he was an EDL thug who had also slit a man’s throat, but denied the murder.

“Butch was well known in his local community and should have been celebrating his 72nd birthday this month with family and friends.

“I hope that the successful conclusion of this case today will finally provide Butch’s family and friends with some closure to what has been a very traumatic time for them.”

A statement from the Desmier family, said: “Today sees the end of a three and a half year agonising wait to identify those responsible for the brutal murder of our father.

“The loss of our father has had a devastating impact on our lives. The fact that he was a vulnerable old age pensioner, viciously attacked in his own home with weapons, will haunt us all for the rest of our lives.

“Two ruthless individuals with no regard for life ripped our lives apart that day and we will never recover from that.

“We would like to praise the brave individuals that came forward and provided information to the police investigation about Lawler and Jefferson’s involvement. Their courage assisted with the conviction of these two individuals which will hopefully allow our father to finally rest in peace.

“We would also like to thank West Yorkshire Police for their unrelenting determination to bring those responsible to justice. They have been an immense support to our family throughout this difficult time. They never gave up and for that we will be forever grateful.”

Telegraph and Argus

A man has been found guilty of murdering a pensioner who was stabbed to death in a brutal attack.

David Lawler was convicted of killing Clement “Butch” Desmier, 68, who died after sustaining more than 60 injuries.

Mr Desmier was found dead at his home in Bradford in August 2012 after being stabbed with a screwdriver and a knife.

Lawler, 33, formerly of Central Avenue, Shipley, was found guilty at Bradford Crown Court of murder and two counts of intimidating a witness.

Nathan Jefferson, 20, of Springwell View, Holbeck, Leeds, admitted murdering Mr Desmier, of Rowlestone Rise, Greengates, before the trial began.

A family statement said: “The loss of our father has had a devastating impact on our lives.

“The fact that he was a vulnerable old age pensioner, viciously attacked in his own home with weapons, will haunt us all for the rest of our lives.

“Two ruthless individuals with no regard for life ripped our lives apart that day and we will never recover from that.”

The family also praised the courage of individuals that provided information to the police about Lawler and Jefferson’s involvement.

Det Ch Supt Mark Ridley said it had been a lengthy and complex investigation into a “brutal and sustained attack on a vulnerable, elderly man”.

The court was told it was likely Mr Desmier’s injuries were inflicted as he was sitting in his armchair.

Both defendants are due to be sentenced on 23 March.

BBC News

Throat cut attacker David Lawler.

Throat cut attacker David Lawler.

A GATECRASHER who seized a party goer in a headlock and slashed his throat with a Stanley knife has been sentenced to a ten year extended prison sentence.

David Lawler, who was branded dangerous and unstable, must serve a seven and a half year jail term before completing two and a half years on closely supervised licence.

He was convicted by a jury of cutting Benjamin Hanslip right across the front of his throat in an unprovoked attack that left the young man with a 12cm gash needing 12 stitches.

Lawler, 31, of Mallard Court, Lower Grange, Bradford, had a troubling history of violence, with convictions for possession of a bladed article, robbery, assault and violent disorder, Bradford Crown Court heard yesterday.

The Recorder of Bradford, Judge Roger Thomas QC, ruled that he posed a serious risk to the public after hearing he suffered from depression, anxiety and panic attacks, aggravated by excessive drinking.

Prosecutor David Hall said Lawler turned up uninvited at a flat in Crag Road, Windhill, Shipley, late on September 1, 2012.

He was drinking lager at 2am when he suddenly sprang at Mr Hanslip, grabbed him round the neck and cut his throat with a Stanley knife he seized from a nearby shelf.

Lawler was arrested after he was traced by DNA evidence he left on a lager can.

He denied the offence but was found guilty of wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm.

Since the attack, Lawler had served a 13 month jail sentence for violent disorder at an English Defence League demonstration.

He was banned from any EDL gathering after joining with five other men in “sustained, unprovoked racist violence”.

Lawler’s string of convictions began with possession of a butterfly knife when he was a youth.

In 2001, he was locked up for robbery and in 2005 he was cautioned by the police for making a threat to kill his partner.

Judge Thomas said it was “extraordinary” he was let off so lightly for arming himself with a knife while in drink while his partner locked herself in the bedroom.

Lawler’s barrister, Austin Newman, said he was ashamed of what he had done to Mr Hanslip.

“It may be fortuitous but the injury was not the most serious example of its type. So far as we know, no damage was done to the underlying structures to the throat or neck. The victim made a relatively quick and good recovery,” Mr Newman said.

Judge Thomas told Lawler: “You could so easily have killed Benjamin Hanslip. You caused him a superficial wound but what you did was draw a blade right across the front of his throat. It was a very nasty wound indeed on any view of it.”

There was “no rhyme or reason whatsoever” for the attack.

After the case, Detective Constable Paul Maxwell, of Bradford District CID, said: “Lawler’s actions were totally unprovoked and caused his victim to lose a lot of blood. We hope the sentence passed down today will send out a warning to others that violent crime will not be tolerated in West Yorkshire.”

Telegraph & Argus

You can find the report of his previous conviction here

Six West Yorkshire men and one youth have today been sentenced at Leeds Crown Court following a demonstration and disorder in Cleckheaton, Dewsbury and Heckmondwike in March last year.

The defendants from Bradford pleaded guilty to the charges made against them and will spend more than six years behind bars for the roles they played on the day.

Kevin Angelo Docherty (29) of Grisedale Close, admitted charges of violent disorder and racially aggravated criminal damage and was jailed for 14 months. Robert Adrian Collington (27) of Bedivere Road and Mark Peel (24) of Bolton Hall Road were given 12 months each for violent disorder, while David Kenneth Lawler (30) of Bradford Road, Shipley, was given a 13-month sentence for the same offence.

Also jailed for violent disorder was Ben Phelps (19), who received 10 months, while Steven Philip Woodhead (33) of Heysham Drive was given four months for racially aggravated common assault. A 17-year-old youth who cannot be named received a 12-month youth rehabilitation order.

On the afternoon of Saturday 17 March the English Defence League took part in a peaceful, pre-planned demonstration in Cleckheaton Town Centre. After two hours the group of around 60 people dispersed and a number of men made their way to various locations around Kirklees purporting to be part of the EDL displaying posters and flags as well as shouting abuse at members of the public.

Shortly after the demonstration concluded police responded to reports that a window at the Co-Op Travel Agents on Northgate in Heckmondwike had been smashed, then at around 4pm police received reports of disorder in Dewsbury Town Centre on Northgate and Corporation Street.

Two Asian men travelling in a Vauxhall Corsa were approached on Northgate when stopped at traffic lights and were racially abused. They were spat at as well as their car being damaged after a drink was thrown.

A group of men in Corporation Street had also racially abused and assaulted a 35-year-old Asian man. They knocked him to the floor leaving him with a black eye and bruising to his ribs. He received hospital treatment for his injuries.

Detective Inspector Andy Leonard said: “We welcome the sentences passed today and hope they serve as a warning to those who think its acceptable to abuse people because of the colour of their skin or their religious beliefs and also cause mindless damage.

“We support the right to a peaceful protest however this is an example of when we have had to take positive action against the minority who abuse this.

“These incidents cause fear and concern for innocent members of the public caught up in them and we will simply not tolerate such behaviour.

“Kirklees Division embarked upon a painstaking investigation in order to ensure those responsible were brought to justice and all this hard work has resulted in the sentences imposed by the Courts today.

“We would like to thank the many members of the public who have assisted with this investigation which underlines our ongoing commitment to ensuring the safety of the public in Kirklees.”

West Yorkshire Police

Dewsbury Reporter