Life sentences for ‘brutal’ killers of Bradford grandfather Butch Desmier

The scene at Clement Desmier's house after the murder.
The scene at Clement Desmier's house after the murder.

The killers of vulnerable Bradford grandfather Clement ‘Butch’ Desmier were told they would serve a combined 50 years in jail today after being handed life sentences.

Members of Mr Desmier’s family were sat in court for the hearing at Bradford Crown Court, which marked the end of a three-year investigation into the murder.

Clement Desmier, who was killed in his home.

Clement Desmier, who was killed in his home.

33-year-old David Lawler and Nathan Jefferson, 20, were locked up for killing the 68-year-old, who was repeatedly stabbed and asphyxiated during an early hours attack at his home in Rowlestone Rise, Bradford, in August 2012.

Bradford Crown Court heard that the murder was committed on Jefferson’s 17th birthday and their victim had been vulnerable because of his age and health problems.

Jefferson, of Springwell View, Holbeck, Leeds, inflicted more than 60 injuries on Mr Desmier using a screwdriver while Lawler covered their victim’s face with a cushion.

One of the men also stabbed Mr Desmier in the abdomen with a knife.

Today’s sentencing marks the end of a lengthy investigation into what was a brutal and sustained attack on a vulnerable man in his own home.

Mark Ridley, West Yorkshire Police

The court heard the killers spent more than an hour in the house which was ransacked as they searched for money.

Sentencing the pair today, the Honourable Mr Justice Blake described Lawler, formerly of Central Avenue, Shipley, as the “dominant personality”. During his trial a jury heard that he was given a ten-year extended jail sentence for slashing a man’s throat with a Stanley knife just nine days after Mr Desmier was killed.

Lawler was found guilty of murder and witness intimidation after a trial earlier this month and today he was told he would have to serve a minimum of 34 years in jail before being considered for release.

Jefferson pleaded guilty to the murder charge and he was sentenced to indefinite detention, due to his age at the time of the killing, and told he would have to serve a minimum of 16 years.

Nathan Jefferson (left) and David Lawler.

Nathan Jefferson (left) and David Lawler.

After the sentences were imposed, senior investigating officer Detective Superintendent Mark Ridley of West Yorkshire Police said: ”Today’s sentencing marks the end of a lengthy investigation into what was a brutal and sustained attack on a vulnerable man in his own home.

“Lawler and Jefferson have been given significant sentences for their actions and the communities of West Yorkshire can feel safer knowing that these violent individuals will be locked up for a long time.”

Mr Justice Blake commended the work of the investigating officers during the inquiry which had included undercover work and a Crimewatch reconstruction of the attack.

Former partners of Lawler and Jefferson had helped the police with their investigation and Mr Justice Blake said the public interest had been well-served by their courage in coming forward.

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