Man jailed for life after being found guilty of murdering man outside Yarmouth pub

Stuart Layden

Stuart Layden - Credit: Archant

A man has been jailed for life after being found guilty of the murder of a 40-year-old who was kicked to death outside a pub in Great Yarmouth.

Ian Church suffered a fatal brain injury after he was attacked by a group of people outside the Bricklayers Arms in Yarmouth on May 5, 2012.

Three people had already been convicted of the murder of Mr Church and today a fourth, Stuart Layden, was found guilty of murder too.

A jury of six men and six women at Norwich Crown Court took four hours and 20 minutes to unanimously convict Layden, who has been on trial twice before for the offence.

When the verdict was announced loud screams of 'yes' came from the public gallery where the family and friends of Mr Church were sitting.


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Judge Stephen Holt sentenced Layden, 34, to life imprisonment with a minimum notional term of 12 years minus the time he has already served which equates to a total of eight years and 357 days before he is eligible for parole.

Layden, formerly of South Quay, Great Yarmouth, was initially found guilty of murder by jurors following a trial heard by Judge Peter Jacobs at Norwich Crown Court in April 2013.

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In March 2015, Layden had his appeal allowed by the Court of Appeal and a retrial commenced at the end of September 2015; however, the jury in that trial was discharged and a second re-trial began on Tuesday 3 May 2016.

The current trial heard how Mr Church, a shop worker, suffered a brain injury from multiple blunt force blows, including kicks to the head.

Prosecutor Annabel Darlow said three other people, Todd Esherwood, Tony Smith and Kelly Taylor had previously been convicted ofMr Church's murder.

It was the prosecution case that Layden, a father of three, from The Briars, in Harlow, Essex, was 'part of that joint enterprise to attack Mr Church'.

Layden had been with a large group of people out drinking in the town on May 4, 2012.

But trouble started in the early hours of May 5 when they arrived at the Bricklayers Arms.

The court heard how Esherwood got into an altercation with Mr Church's friend Peter Blake and then punched him which was the 'catalyst' for things to come later that night.

She told the jury that Mr Blake left the pub before returning later with Mr Church, armed with a machete and a long wooden bar.

The court heard how the pair started smashing the pub's windows, resulting in Layden's group going outside to confront them.

After Mr Blake was knocked to the ground, the group surrounded Mr Church, who was still holding a machete, and proceeded to attack him said Miss Darlow.

She said a witness described seeing Layden punch Mr Church in the back of his head.

Following the attack, the victim suffered a cardiac arrest and died two days later on May 7.

Speaking after the case, Detective Inspector Marie James, Joint Norfolk and Suffolk Major Investigation Team, the Senior Investigating Officer said: 'I hope today's verdict and sentence will finally allow Ian Church's family to move on from what has been an extremely difficult four years.'

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