Life imprisonment for Kettering murderer

John Kiernan
John Kiernan

Phillip Haslam has been sentenced to life imprisonment with a minimum tariff of 32 years for the murder of John Kiernan, 62, in Kettering.

Haslam was today (Friday) sentenced to 12 years for robbery, 40 months for two burglaries and life with a minimum of 32 years for murder.

Haslam, 36, was accused of murdering John Kiernan in Havelock Street, Kettering, whose decomposing body was found “hog-tied” when police broke in on October 1.

During the three-week trial, Northampton Crown Court heard Mr Kiernan, who lived alone, died as a result of head injuries and partial blocking of his airways.

His body had laid undiscovered for up to two weeks.

Haslam, of Gloucester Court, Kettering, admitted twice burgling Mr Kiernan’s flat, stealing money and personal items, in the weeks leading up to his death.

He also admitted robbing 62-year-old Raymond Heaviside, of a wallet, bank cards and cash, who was attacked with a hammer in Duke Street, Kettering, on September 1 last year.

However, Haslam, also known as Ratty, denied murdering Mr Kiernan.

Before Haslam was convicted earlier this week, the court heard from David Herbert, prosecuting, who said Mr Kiernan’s arms and feet were tied together behind his back with electrical cord and he had been gagged with a pair of socks before being killed.

Addressing the jury, he said: “During this trial, we have stepped into a different world of drug addiction and desperation, where people will do anything to get their next fix of heroin.

“A world where the chosen way of achieving that is by committing acquisitive crime and if the victim does not co-operate, he turns to violence to achieve his needs.”

The court has heard Haslam allegedly confessed to tying up Mr Kiernan and hitting him with a brick to a number of people including Louise Wall, 32, and her husband Levoy Berry, 31.

Mr Herbert added: “The prosecution says the confession evidence is reliable and points to the fact that the defendant spoke freely about what he had done to John Kiernan to a number of friends and associates. What you have to decide is whether it is sufficient to convict Phillip Haslam.

“When you look at all the circumstances, as you know them to be, from these circumstances alone, you can reach your conclusion that this defendant was involved in burgling and killing Mr Kiernan.

“On any view, all the evidence points to the fact the defendant and the defendant alone was the person who had been targeting John Kiernan in the weeks leading up to his death, stealing from him during burglaries, robberies, and threatening him for money.”

Nicholas Syfret QC, for Haslam, accused Levoy Berry of carrying out the murder, which he denied while giving evidence for the prosecution during the trial.

He admitted Haslam had “been parasitic, selfish and brutal” but was not responsible for the murder.

He said: “The Crown’s case is that it was the defendant. The defence say that it was Levoy Berry.

“If you come to the conclusion Levoy Berry was the murderer, that goes some way to making the confession evidence unreliable and if you reach that point, you will acquit the defendant.”

Haslam was unanimously convicted for murder on Wednesday this week.

Christine Windle admitted arranging the robbery of Mr Heaviside, with her partner Haslam, as well as handling property stolen from Mr Kiernan including money and cheques.

Windle, Haslam’s partner, has been sentenced to six years for robbery with two years consecutive for handling stolen goods taken from John Kiernan.