December 12 2013 Latest news:
TWO men who gunned down a bodybuilder with a hail of machine gun bullets outside a Hoddesdon gym have had their prison sentences cut. Roger Vincent, 33, of Penn, Bucks, and David Smith, also 33, of Elstree, Herts, were convicted last August of murdering
TWO men who gunned down a bodybuilder with a hail of machine gun bullets outside a Hoddesdon gym have had their prison sentences cut.
Roger Vincent, 33, of Penn, Bucks, and David Smith, also 33, of Elstree, Herts, were convicted last August of murdering 32-year-old Dave King, with an AK-47 machine gun.
Vincent was sentenced to 30 years and Smith 25 years.
But Lord Justice Hughes, sitting with Mrs Justice Rafferty and Mr Justice McCombe at the Appeal Court in London, last Friday cut Vincent's "tariff" to 25 years and Smith's to 22 years.
These are the new minimum terms they must serve before they can apply for parole.
The judge said their victim was "an established criminal" and this was a "planned execution carried out in pursuit of some serious criminal dispute".
Vincent and Smith believed Mr King had informed on a criminal associate of theirs in a large-scale drugs case.
Mr King was gunned down as he left the Physical Limit gym in Hoddesdon in October 2003. The shooting was carried out by a masked man in a stolen Peugeot van and it was the prosecution case that Vincent was the gunman, and Smith the driver.
Lawyers on behalf of his killers argued last week that the sentences were too long.
Agreeing to cut the length of their minimum terms, Lord Justice Hughes said: "This was a very serious killing.
"It was a ruthless professional contract execution, carefully planned as an act of retribution amongst professional criminals, and it was carried out with a fearsome weapon which created enormous risk to any member of the public who might have been on the street at the time.
"It was not, however, a serial killing, a killing of a police officer or of a child, and it was not a sadistic killing.
"In Vincent's case we grant leave to appeal against sentence and allow the appeal. We quash the specified period of 30 years and substitute the period of 25 years.
"We also grant leave to Smith to appeal against sentence and allow the appeal. We quash the specified period of 25 years and substitute the period of 22 years."
Both men lost their appeals against the murder convictions.
Once the pair have served their minimum tariffs, they will still have to persuade the Parole Board they pose no danger to the public before they can be freed.
They will then remain on perpetual "life licence", subject to prison recall if they put a foot wrong.