Rocky Curtis and Robert Holmes were convicted of murder.
In October 2011, Sonny Grey, a 70 year old man, was tortured and beaten by the two men.
The BBC reported that on the night of the attack, Mr Grey twice had boiling water poured over him and his finger was held in boiling water to make him reveal where he hid his money. He was also beaten and throttled, possibly with a belt.
Curtis and Holmes sought to steal Mr Grey’s property and were prepared to inflict really serious injury if necessary. The Judge accepted that Curtis and Holmes had no intention of killing Mr Grey.
He was found by his granddaughter and died two days later in hospital.
Police found £9,000 hidden in Mr Grey’s property after his death.
Curtis and Holmes made their escape in a car. The car was sighted on CCTV. The defence sought to argue that there was no evidence to place the two in the car, which had had its registration plates changed.
Holmes had admitted going out stealing nearly 500 times in 6 months with Curtis. The Judge said that he was a regular thief and made a living out of stealing.
Curtis was sentenced to mandatory life with a minimum term of 28 years. Holmes received the same, with a minimum term of 26 years. There is an explanation of the sentencing regime for murder here.
This was clearly a murder for gain, and arguably one involving sadistic conduct. Therefore the starting point is 30 years.
The strongest mitigating factor was perhaps the fact that the murder was not premeditated and the absence of an intention to kill. This justified a reduction in the minimum term.
We are, as usual, light on the facts, however we can infer from the disparity in sentence between Curtis and Holmes that one was more culpable than the other. It may be that this, in part, is to reflect previous convictions, however it appears unlikely. It is more likely that the 2-year difference in sentence is to reflect different roles in inflicting the torture upon Mr Grey.