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His killers have been jailed for life with minimum terms totalling 34 years

The family of murdered Andrew Groves made a loving tribute to him on the day his killers were jailed.

Russell Oakey and Michael Dommett both received life terms today (July 26). Oakey, 42 and of Hanham High Street, was convicted by a jury and Dommett, 38 and of Oakhanger Drive, entered a guilty plea part way through a trial.

Bristol Crown Court heard 47-year-old Mr Groves sustained a brutal beating in a house in Oakhanger Drive, Lawrence Weston, which was then set on fire.

 Michael Dommett (left) and Russell Oakey. Both have been jailed for life for murdering Bristol dad Andrew Groves. (Image: Avon and Somerset Constabulary)

Michael Dommett (left) and Russell Oakey. Both have been jailed for life for murdering Bristol dad Andrew Groves. (Image: Avon and Somerset Constabulary)

‘A devoted family man’

As the case concluded Mr Groves’ family said: “The sentence these two men will get will be never enough for us as a family. For we will never see our dear Andrew again.

“Andrew was a kind and loving son, a truly beautiful person, and was loved by so many people.

“He was a hard-working and devoted family man and his sudden death has been devastating to his wife, his son Lewis and daughter Molly.”

The family also thanked the emergency services who first attended the scene, and made desperate attempts to revive Mr Groves.

The statement adds: “We would also like to say thank you to Avon and Somerset Police’s Major Crime Investigation Team, who had over 70 people working on the investigation.

“Without them and their hard work and professionalism we would not be here today.

“We would also like to say a very special thank you to three amazing people who have given us their support, compassion and help during this very difficult time – DC Hilary Bolland, DC Carol Doxsey and Krissy of Victim Support.

“Once again thank you to you all.”

‘Daddy’s girl’

The court today heard statements from Mr Groves’ family.

Mr Groves’ daughter Molly was 17 when her dad was murdered. She said she was a “daddy’s girl”, her dad was very affectionate and would help his children with their homework.

She said: “Dad was always really proud of me and my brother.”

She remembered going to the cinema with her dad, with his large Coke and nachos, looking happy. When her dad died she felt scared and didn’t know what to do, she said.

She thought Mike Dommett had been her dad’s friend, and she couldn’t understand why anyone would want to hurt him.

She found life after the killing very difficult, she said, but wanted to attend court for the trial to hear what happened and listened to awful things. She described her dad as a family man who was always smiling.

Andrew’s father Barry said Andrew was born at Southmead Hospital and when he saw him for the first time he was the most beautiful baby he had ever seen. He last saw him four days before he was murdered and he was his “usual, cheerful self”.

When Mr Groves was told of a murder inquiry regarding his son he thought: “Why would anyone kill my son? He’s never had an enemy in my life.”

He said he had to identify him at a mortuary and even though he had sustained horrendous injuries he was still his beautiful son.

He said: “That day my life, and that of Andrew’s family and friends, changed for ever.”

Mr Groves said the sadness would live with his family for ever.

The deceased would always do anything for his children, he said, and they missed their loving, generous and hard-working dad.

He said: “I’m devastated I will never see my beautiful son again. I hope those found guilty of his murder get the maximum the court can give.”

Mr Groves son wanted him as best man

Andrew Groves’ son Lewis was 25 when he learned of the death of his dad.

Today the court heard how he went to his dad’s home and found police at the scene. He said his dad was his best friend and they had a very special relationship. He said his dad would have been his best man at his wedding but he never got the chance to ask him. Since the murder he has felt so much negativity, he said.

He said he found it hard to look at motorbikes, knowing how much his dad liked them. He said the intention to set light to his dad was hard to hear

‘We are the ones serving a life sentence’

Louise Groves, Andrew’s former wife, said Andrew was kind, happy and had the biggest heart. She said his life was his family and loved nothing more than family trips and celebrations. He wanted nothing more than his children to be happy, she said.

She said: “No-one deserves the pure evil inflicted on him. No punishment will ever be enough. We are the ones serving a life sentence.”

Police statement – pair ‘concocted a series of lies’

Senior Investigating Officer DI Lorna Dallimore said: “These convictions are the result of a detailed and painstaking investigation by officers and police staff.

“Andrew Groves was subjected to a truly horrific ordeal inside the house in Oakhanger Drive, with a fire deliberately started in an attempt to conceal evidence.

“We were able to prove Michael Dommett, who had taken on the tenancy of this property from his late father, and Russell Oakey were solely responsible for Andrew’s death.

“They concocted a series of lies to distance themselves from the scene of the crime and claimed they’d left Andrew at the property asleep.

“Through a combination of forensic and DNA evidence, analysis of telephone data and ANPR cameras, we were able to expose these lies and prove they were responsible for Andrew’s murder.

“I’d like to thank Andrew’s family for their support of our investigation and I hope these convictions will help them move forward with their lives.”

Bristol Post


A Missouri man who pleaded guilty to making threatening phone calls to a Georgia mosque has been sentenced to two years in prison.

In a statement Tuesday, federal prosecutors said 50-year-old Preston Q. Howard, of Wright City, made numerous calls last year to the Islamic Society of Augusta in which he threatened to kill members of the mosque and “blow up” the mosque.

Howard acknowledged committing the acts and obstructing or attempting to obstruct the mosque members’ free exercise of their religious beliefs, the news release said.

“Threats made against houses of worship are abhorrent and this Office will work tirelessly to ensure that members of all faiths may worship in peace and without intimidation,” said U.S. Attorney Bobby L. Christine.

Prosecutors said Howard’s sentence was enhanced because Howard chose his victims based on their religion and “thereby committing a hate crime.”

When imposing the sentence, U.S. District Chief Judge J. Randal Hall noted Howard’s “disturbing pattern of intolerance of many groups of people.”

The Augusta Chronicle reports Hall told Howard that his actions were “terribly offensive.”

“Whatever faith you chose — that goes to the heart of who we are as a nation,” Hall said during Tuesday’s sentencing hearing.

Howard told the judge and members of the mosque who attended the hearing that he was embarrassed and ashamed.

“For each one of you, I apologize,” Howard said.

During the seven and a half months he has been held without bond, Howard began to study Islam, he said, adding he understands that terrorists do not represent all Muslims.

Hall pressed Howard, however. What he saw in the pre-sentencing report, he said, was a man of intolerance. “When you’re released from prison, who’s next?” Hall asked.

Howard responded, “I am definitely not the same person.”

Defense attorney Hank Crane had asked Hall to take into account the change in Howard’s attitude. Howard had no criminal history and stopped calling the mosque once confronted by FBI agents in August 2017, Crane said.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Nancy Greenwood asked Hall to consider not only the vile messages left over a three-month period, but also other indications of Howard’s intolerance — such as Confederate battle flag stickers covering his mailbox and the sticker of the president with a Hitler-style mustache overlaying a swastika, and similar messages and symbols on his three Facebook pages.

Hall granted the federal prosecutor’s request to go above the federal sentencing guideline range of 15 to 21 months. He also ordered Howard to immediately reimburse the mosque members for nearly $30,000 spent to increase security.

Speaking on the mosque’s behalf, Dr. Hossam Fadel told the judge that the members refused to let fear take them away from their faith.

Founded in 1976, the mosque has grown into a community that provides food, clothing and medical care to those in need, opened a full-time school and opened its doors to everyone in the community.

“We are part and parcel of the … community,” Fadel said.

Charlotte Observer

Sean Gorman, 18, admitted stabbing Shabaz Ali, 25, who suffered life-threatening injuries in the attack after being subjected to racist abuse.

Shabaz Ali, pictured in hospital after the brutal knife attack (Image: PA/Daily Record)

Shabaz Ali, pictured in hospital after the brutal knife attack (Image: PA/Daily Record)

A teenager has admitted the racially-aggravated attempted murder of a Syrian refugee in Edinburgh .

Shabaz Ali was stabbed in an argument with Sean Gorman at a hostel in Upper Gilmore Place in the early hours of Thursday May 3.

Ali, 25, had fled to Scotland five years ago with his family and was working as a barber and staying in the hostel as he looked for a new home.

Police Scotland said Gorman, 18, had been visiting the hostel and that Ali called at his room due to loud noise.

Gorman made threats and racially abused the victim before stabbing him and leaving the property.

He was traced a short time later in Duff Street and arrested, with a lock knife recovered.

The 18-year-old pled guilty to racially-aggravated attempted murder as well as causing racially aggravated alarm to another woman within the hostel at the High Court in Edinburgh on Thursday, Police Scotland said.

The charity Positive Action in Housing have supported the Ali family and released pictures of Shabaz in critical care at Edinburgh Royal Infirmary after the attack.

His father Sivan told the charity he could hear his sons’ attacker shout: “Why are you still here, why are you not back in your own country?”

Campaigners set up an online appeal for donations “to help Shahbaz recover and rebuild his life” with more than £12,000 raised.

Gorman will be sentenced in August.

Detective Chief Inspector Paul Grainger said: “Gorman’s violence was extreme and left the victim with significant, life-threatening injuries. He showed utter disregard for the victim and another woman who was with him – made all the worse given the appalling racist language used.

“Whilst this attack happened within a private property, it gained a great deal of public and media interest and I’m pleased that Gorman has been brought to justice so quickly.

“Edinburgh is a vibrant place where people of different nationalities, faiths and backgrounds live together and the support shown by the local community for the victim and his family is far more indicative of the city’s inclusivity than this one isolated incident.

“We work closely with all the different groups and communities across Edinburgh and hate crime and violence of this nature are roundly condemned. I hope that today’s conviction helps the victim and his family to move past this terrible attack and I wish them well.”

Ali’s solicitor Aamer Anwar said a number of attacks on Syrian refugee communities are going unreported because people “are too frightened to complain”.

Anwar said: “The family are Syrian refugees from Kobane, Northern Syria, who fled death to live in Scotland five years ago.

“Shabaz lost nine members of his family after an attack on their city by Islamic State. This racist thug who plead guilty today had no regard for the life of Shabaz Ali, who had done nothing wrong, he was a hardworking and quiet young man trying to rebuild his life after Syria.

“Many refugee families today are suffering racist abuse in Scotland and it’s up to decent people to stand up for their rights and ensure that the culprits are dealt with and that the local authorities act sensitively to support and if necessary rehouse victims.

“What the authorities cannot do is hide and pretend this is not happening.

“Since the attack the family are deeply grateful to Positive Action in Housing for their tremendous advocacy and support, as well as their MP Joanna Cherry, the leader of the Council and the people of Edinburgh who also rallied to their support.”

Daily Record

Members of a South Texas mosque that was set ablaze last year went up to shake hands and hug prosecutors in a federal courtroom Monday.

Just moments before,12 jurors had announced they’d found the man accused of setting the fire guilty.

“Yes,” each said when asked one by one if that was their true verdict.

The trial of Marq Vincent Perez, who was indicted last year of a hate crime related to the Jan. 28, 2017 fire at the Victoria Islamic Center, began last week at the federal courthouse.

It took the jury about three hours of deliberations before finding him guilty of three felony counts including damage to a religious property, use of fire to commit a federal felony and possession of a destructive device related to an earlier incident.

 Construction on the new mosque is about 80-85 percent complete. Eleanor Dearman/Caller-Times


Construction on the new mosque is about 80-85 percent complete.
Eleanor Dearman/Caller-Times

“No group anywhere in the United States of America should be subjected to such hate crimes,” said Omar Rachid, who handles community and public relations for the mosque.

“I think what the jury has done today, this afternoon, is send a message loud and clear that such behavior and such crimes will not be tolerated,” he continued.

U.S. District Judge John D. Rainey will decide Perez’s sentence at an Oct. 2 hearing. The date could coincide with the opening of the newly built mosque.

“God works in mysterious ways, and maybe one of those ways he has in store for us is that the sentencing could very well take place at about the time we take possession of our new mosque,” Rachid said.

Perez, wearing a grey shirt and dark rimmed glasses, sat beside his attorney Mark Di Carlo Monday as federal prosecutors presented their closing arguments to a jury. His trial was expected to last around two weeks, but the presentation of evidence concluded Friday.

A video clip of the burning mosque played on a large screen in the courtroom as prosecutor Saeed Ahmed Mody began presenting his case.

“His intention was for damage and destruction, and that’s exactly what he did,” Mody said.

 Marq Vincent Perez, 26, is escorted from the Martin Luther King Jr. Federal Building after a pretrial hearing. Perez, of Victoria, is accused of intentionally setting a fire that destroyed a mosque at the Islamic Center of Victoria in January 2017. Contributed// Qiling Wang, Victoria Advocate


Marq Vincent Perez, 26, is escorted from the Martin Luther King Jr. Federal Building after a pretrial hearing. Perez, of Victoria, is accused of intentionally setting a fire that destroyed a mosque at the Islamic Center of Victoria in January 2017.
Contributed// Qiling Wang, Victoria Advocate

He argued it was Perez’s goal to “terrorize” the Muslim community. He described the Victoria Islamic Center as a place where the community would gather for joyous occasions — weddings and weekly potlucks — as well as sad occasions.

On the trial’s first day, the jury heard from a federal prosecutor who painted Perez as having an “absolute hatred” of Muslims. Sharad Sushil Khandelwal, a prosecutor from the U.S. Attorney’s Office, said Perez became involved with a militia group on Facebook and began forming what he called “rogue units.”

On Jan. 15 Perez went on a “training mission” to throw an “improvised bomb” into a car, he said. After burglarizing the mosque with a juvenile identified as K.R. on Jan. 22, the two returned on Jan. 28 but this time, Perez set the mosque on fire, Khandelwal argued last week.

 Authorities have determined arson is responsible for the fire that destroyed the Victoria Islamic Center mosque on Jan. 28, 2017. Contributed photo/ATF


Authorities have determined arson is responsible for the fire that destroyed the Victoria Islamic Center mosque on Jan. 28, 2017.
Contributed photo/ATF

But during his closing arguments, Di Carlo maintained his client’s innocence. He told jurors that the juveline’s testimony is hearsay and promoted the idea that he was not a credible witness.

He also categorized the Jan. 15 incident as separate from the Jan. 28 burglary and fire. Khandelwal said due to their belief the June 15 incident was done as a “training mission,” the two crimes were connected. He also said Perez’s DNA was found on the “improvised bomb.”

The jury was shown Facebook messages that prosecutors say show Perez’s hate of Muslims.

“He can’t keep his mouth shut and he can’t keep his fingers off the laptop either,” Khandelwal said.

The jury also listened to testimony that showed Perez’s phone contained photos of the burning mosque and that items that were stolen from the mosque were found at Perez’s residence, according to prosecutors.

Di Carlo said the government “cherry picked and oh so carefully presented” their evidence against Perez.

“We only have what the government allowed us to see,” Di Carlo said.

He also suggested that Perez was “profiled” because he’s conservative, had a brief stint in the military and was allegedly a part of the militia group.

Di Carlo flipped through a copy of the Quran that had been admitted into evidence.

“And do not cover the truth with falsehood,” he read, asking the jury to find Perez not guilty.

He told reporters after the trial’s conclusion that the entirety of Perez’s social media postings and interview with investigators weren’t allowed to be entered into evidence at trial and that “only things that were adverse to his interests came in.”

Di Carlo said he was surprised by the jury’s decision.

“As is stated throughout the trial, we do not believe that the fact that the defendant disliked Muslims is proved beyond a reasonable doubt,” Di Carlo said. “Again, as stated during the trial, there was issues regarding his concern about Middle-Eastern people, about terrorists, about illegal immigrants and the mention of religion was very, very minimal.”

“I hope that point was made to the jurors,” he continued. “Perhaps it wasn’t made well enough.”

Di Carlo said Perez took the verdict “very somberly.”

U.S. Attorney Ryan Patrick lauded the conviction as a commitment to protect religious liberty.

“The Department of Justice is committed to protecting the religious liberty of all people and their ability to practice their faith without being the target of this kind of dangerous activity.”

Acting Assistant Attorney General John Gore of the Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division said the department ” is committed to holding hate crimes perpetrators accountable under the law.”

“All people are entitled to live free from violence and fear, regardless of their religion or place of worship,” Gore said. “Perez’s actions were criminal, unlawful and dangerous.”

Perez faces up to 20 years in federal prison for the hate crime count and up to 10 years for possessing an unregistered destructive device, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office. For use of a fire to commit a felony, the penalty is consecutive and he faces a mandatory minimum of 10 years in prison. Each count carries a possible $250,000 fine.

And as Perez awaits a decision on how long he’ll be behind bars, members of the mosque are looking forward to opening the doors of their new mosque.

Construction is about 80-85 percent done. They are hoping to have it opened in September or early October, Rachid said.

One of the Victoria Islamic Center board members said despite the fire, they want the mosque to be a place that his open to the community.

“The last thing we want to do is for evil to win by making us … be separated from our community,” Abe Ajrami said.

He extended thoughts and prayers to Perez, adding that maybe Perez can use his time in jail to learn about Islam. He also extended prayers to Perez’s family.

“There is no hard feeling here, and I can tell you in the name of the Muslim community, Mr. and Mrs. Perez are invited to the open house.”

At the end of the day, what’s more important than the verdict is how the community came together following the fire, Ajrami said.

“That’s what gives me hope,” he said. “Whether Mr. Perez is out or in, that’s one person comparing to thousands in Victoria who made a clear statement that they are against the burning of any place of worship.”

Caller Times

Mark Ryley, 56, has been jailed for sexually abusing three victims over the course of four decades. Pic: MET POLICE

Mark Ryley, 56, has been jailed for sexually abusing three victims over the course of four decades. Pic: MET POLICE

A ‘vile’ paedophile who preyed on ‘vulnerable’ children for more than 30 years has been jailed.

Mark Ryley, from Sawbridgeworth, was found guilty of abusing a girl as young as six during a four-decades-long string of sexual abuse in east London and Hertfordshire dating back to 1981.

A spokesman for children’s charity the NSPCC said: “Ryley’s decades of sickening abuse against young girls was ultimately stopped by the bravery of those he targeted.

“Thanks to their tremendous courage a vile sexual predator is behind bars where he cannot harm other children.

“It’s vital that children are educated about abuse from an early age and know that if it happens to them it is never their fault and they will be listened to and supported when they speak out.”

Ryley targeted three girls he knew under the age of 16 one of whom exposed him when she came forward in 2013 to report seven years of abuse she suffered from the age of six.

Two more victims emerged during the police investigation exposing abuse Ryley subjected them to from the early 2000s until 2014.

Ryley, 56, was found guilty of six counts of indecent assault, seven of sexual activity with a child, one of assault by penetration and two of attempted rape. He was sentenced at Snaresbrook Crown Court on July 13 to 14 years behind bars.

Det Cons Sherai Israel said: “This was a complex investigation relating to the abuse of vulnerable victims that began more than 30 years ago.

“I commend the victims for their bravery in coming forward and would ask that if there are any further victims out there that they contact police.”

If you have been a victim of Ryley, contact police on 020 8217 6537 or 101.

Children can contact Childline for confidential help, 24 hours a day on 0800 1111 or by visiting childline.org.uk

Ilford Recorder

Jonathan Jennings also warned Jews they would ‘get the same treatment as Muslims’ if they did not behave in a series of online messages

Jonathan Jennings called for Muslims to be sterilised, gassed, or killed on sight

Jonathan Jennings called for Muslims to be sterilised, gassed, or killed on sight

A man has admitted posting a series of messages online calling for Muslims to be gassed and put on bonfires and boasting he would first in line to ‘Jo Cox’ Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn.

Jonathan Damian Jennings also warned Jews that they would “get the same treatment as Muslims” if they did not behave and called for prominent EU remain campaigner Gina Miller to be hunted down and killed.

Jennings, from Brynamman, posted the messages on the American-based social networking site GAB, which styles itself as a “free speech” platform.

The 34-year-old pleaded guilty to 10 counts of publishing threatening written material to stir up religious hatred, sending an electronic communication conveying a threatening message, and sending an electronic communication of an offensive nature when he appeared at Swansea Crown Court via videolink from prison.

A plea hearing earlier this month had to be adjourned when the defendant took his clothes off, lay on the floor of his cell, and refused to enter the dock.

Catherine Richards, prosecuting, said during a series of postings on the GAB site Jennings wrote that it would be “a good idea” if there was a ‘burn a mosque’ day, that Muslims should placed on top of bonfires, gassed, or killed on sight, and that Hitler had been born 100 years too early.

Jennings also called for Muslims to be “forcibly sterilised and banned from preaching their evil creed” until they could be physically removed from the country.

The court heard he also boasted that he would be first in line to ‘Jo Cox’ Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn should he ever become Prime Minister – a reference to the Labour MP who was murdered by a far-right extremist in her Yorkshire constituency in 2016.

Jennings, of Heol y Gelynen, Brynamman, also called for EU remain campaigner Gina Miller to be hunted down and killed and in another message warned Jews that if they did not behave they would “get the same treatment as Muslims.”

David Singh, for Jennings, said a psychological report into the defendant “raised a number of concerns.”

Judge Keith Thomas said he had read the report and noted that the psychologist who wrote it had not diagnosed any particular mental disorder.

Sentencing was adjourned to August 8 and Jennings was further remanded in custody until that date.

Wales Online

Contents of a rucksack found by officers searching the older boy’s hideout in Catterick Garrison. Picture: NORTH EAST CTU

Contents of a rucksack found by officers searching the older boy’s hideout in Catterick Garrison. Picture: NORTH EAST CTU


THE two schoolboys given substantial custodial sentences for plotting a Columbine-inspired attack at a school in Northallerton can be named as Thomas Wyllie and Alex Bolland.

Reporting restrictions were lifted at Leeds Crown Court after the boys were sentenced.

Wyllie was given 12 years custody, while Bolland received ten years.

The boys, who were 14 when they put together the plot, sat motionless in the dock as they were told the lengths of their sentences.

During their trial, prosecutors claimed that the pair had “hero-worshipped” Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, the teenagers responsible for murdering 13 people at Columbine High School, Colorado, in 1999.

In the police interviews that followed their arrests in October 2017, both boys attempted to claim that the plan was nothing more than a fantasy, but in May jurors at Leeds Crown Court convicted them of conspiracy to murder.

The judge, Mrs Justice Cheema-Grubb, told the pair that their plan “was not wishful thinking or fantasy, it was a real plot”.

She said: “You are both 15-years-old and you were only 14 last year when you planned to murder teachers and pupils at your school in North Yorkshire by shooting them in a re-enactment of the Columbine massacre.

The judge added that it was a “firm plan with specific targets in mind as well as a plan to make indiscriminate explosives”.

She concluded her remarks by saying that the boys had intended to cause “terror on the scale of the school shootings that have been seen in America”.

The judge lifted the reporting restriction on naming the two teenagers after representations from the media.

Both the prosecution and the defence argued the restriction should remain on the basis that naming the boys would harm their rehabilitation.

But the judge said the need for open justice outweighed this consideration.

She said the restriction would remain banning the identification of any other witness under the age of 18 and also on naming the school involved.
Northern Echo