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Everitt killer's appeal rejected

PUBLISHED: 09:33 06 November 2009 | UPDATED: 15:32 03 July 2010

A jealous youth who burned a Great Yarmouth teenager to death in an imitation of a scene from one of his favourite horror films failed to convince the nation's top judge his jail term was too harsh yesterday.

A jealous youth who burned a Great Yarmouth teenager to death in an imitation of a scene from one of his favourite horror films failed to convince the nation's top judge his jail term was too harsh yesterday.

Simon Everitt's badly burned body was found in woodland at Mautby on June 28, 2008. It took a week to confirm the identity of the remains.

The 17-year-old Yarmouth College engineering student had been tied to a tree and doused in petrol before being set on fire, by 20-year-old Jonathan Clarke, of Queen Elizabeth Way, Telford, Shropshire, and two others, after sexual jealously exploded into murder.

His killing was copied from a scene in 2006 British horror movie "Severance", which Clarke had watched 15 months before the murder.

Clarke was jailed for life, with a minimum term of 27 years, after being convicted of Simon's murder at Norwich Crown Court in June.

Yesterday he asked the Lord Chief Justice, Lord Judge, Mrs Justice Rafferty and Mr Justice Henriques, sitting at London's Criminal Appeal Court, to reduce that minimum term in light of his youth.

The court heard Simon Everitt had been involved in a relationship with 19-year-old Fiona Statham and so had two of his killers, Clarke and 25-year-old Jimi-Lee Stewart, from Yarmouth.

Both men told Norwich Crown Court at trial that they "hated" their victim.

The third involved in the murder was 40-year-old Maria Chandler, from Yarmouth. She was said to have been the best friend of Ms Statham, but disliked how Simon Everitt had treated her.

Simon was reported missing on 9 June 2008 by Ms Statham. Stewart was with Ms Statham at the time and told her that Simon had probably gone up north and that she should "move on".

Days later though, he broke down and confessed to his mother that he had been involved in the murder. His mother went to the police and Clarke, Stewart and Chandler were arrested.

Chandler finally led police to Simon's body, almost three weeks after he had been killed.

Lawyers for Clarke at the appeal court argued his minimum 27-year term was over the top for one so young, and also claimed that the sentencing judge did not have sufficient grounds on which to conclude that it was a sadistic, planned killing.

But, rejecting the sentence appeal, Lord Judge said: "It is clear on these facts that the judge was entitled to conclude that this was a sadistic killing, young as he was.

"We are not in a position to say that it had been planned since he watched the film 15 months earlier - that is a finding too far. The immediate trigger for the animosity, the relationship between the girl and the other young men, had yet to develop.

"But we can see no reason whatsoever to disagree with the judge's view.

"The judge had the fact of this man's youth in mind and we can not see that this appellant has the slightest grounds for complaint at the minimum term."

In June Stewart was jailed for life to serve a minimum of 22 years and Chandler was jailed for at life for at least 17 years.

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