Halloween hat killers jailed for life

Three "primeval" thugs who murdered an IT expert after they stole his girlfriend's Halloween hat were jailed for life at the Old Bailey yesterday.

Ben Gardner, 30, was on a Saturday night out in Sutton, Surrey with his girlfriend Allana, 28, on 31st October last year to celebrate Halloween and Allana's birthday when the three feral yobs - Daniel Ransom, 21, Ross Collender, 21, and Jordan Dixon, 18, all of Carshalton, Surrey - stole Allana's witch's hat and punched her.

When Ben confronted them, they set about him and, as he lay helpess on the floor, one of the murderers kicked his head so hard it was "as if taking a penalty."

During the attack Dixon, described as "a nasty piece of work", shouted "f***ing moose", "f***ing wh*re" and "I hope you die of cancer" to Allana.

The attack was captured on CCTV and a camera even caught the thugs laughing and grinning as they walked away after the attack.

At London's Old Bailey, Judge Richard Hone told Ransom and Collender they must serve a minimum of 16 years and Dixon that he must serve a minimum of 14 years before having any hope of being released. The sentences are about the mininum terms for murder in England and Wales.

But Ben's father has called for the reinstatement of the death penalty and the three murderers to be hanged.

David Gardner said: "By killing my son, these people have destroyed my life. Life does not mean anything to me any more.

"I cannot forgive them. They have destroyed me and my family for the rest of our lives. I think the people that have done this should pay the ultimate price, death.

"Any sentence given will be of no comparison with what [our] family will live with for the rest of their lives."

The case highlights why many people are afraid to step outdoors at night in violent Britain.

Halloween thugs jailed for life

Killers ... Ross Collender, Jordan Dixon and Daniel Ransom

15 Oct 2010
The Sun

Horrific ... CCTV footage shows attack on Ben

THREE thugs who killed an IT expert in a "primeval" attack after snatching his girlfriend's Halloween hat were jailed for life at the Old Bailey today.

Ben Gardner, 30, was punched to the ground where he lay helpless as one of the men kicked his head "as if taking a penalty".

Daniel Ransom, 21, Ross Collender, 21, and Jordan Dixon, 18, all of Carshalton, Surrey, were found guilty of murder on Tuesday.

Ransom and Collender were given minimum terms of 16 years and Dixon one of 14 years as they were sentenced today.

Judge Richard Hone said: "The three of you jointly attacked and cowardly murdered a decent, gold standard young man of exceptional character, charm, gentleness and ability, who gave absolutely no provocation.

"His attributes shine and sparkle in contrast to your base metal."


Murdered ... tragic Ben with girlfriend Allana on the night of the tragedy

The judge said: "This was an intensely depressing trial involving mindless violence on a Saturday night."

Mr Gardner's girlfriend, hospital worker Allanna Devine, 28, must have suffered "traumatic effects" from seeing the attack on him, he added.

She was also punched during the incident on October 31 last year.

The "look of pleasure" on the faces of Collender and Ransom after the killing was "really rather a disgusting picture", the judge said.

He added: "The first of the blows, the kick to which you all subscribed, the unusual fracture deep in Ben Gardner's skull and the joint enterprise, were truly primeval moments."

The judge told the killers: "Remorse? I find not a trace of it in any of your cases. You seem unable to appreciate the enormity of what you did."

He said Collender had punched the victim before Ransom kicked him on the ground and Dixon was their "enthusiastic henchman".

Dixon's cries of "f***ing moose", "f***ing wh*re" and "I hope you die of cancer" showed him to be a "thoroughly nasty piece of work", the judge added.

The court heard that Collender had ten previous convictions including offences of dishonesty, violence and possession of ammunition, and he had regularly breached community orders.

Dixon had 13 convictions including violence and knife possession and had also breached community orders.

Dad: Thugs who killed my Ben should face death

SIMON HUGHES Chief Investigative Reporter
13 Oct 2010
The Sun

Victim's father says hanging should be re-introduced

A SHATTERED father yesterday said the Halloween thugs who murdered his son should be executed.

David Gardner poured out his grief after three callous yobs were convicted of murdering Ben, 30.

The IT consultant died after a thug booted him in the head like a soccer player taking a penalty.

Ben had tried to help his girlfriend when her fancy dress pirate hat was stolen and she was punched after a Halloween party last year. But it cost him his life.

In a statement read to the Old Bailey, David declared: "The people that have done this should pay the ultimate price - death.

"But I know this is not going to happen so whatever sentence is given will be of no comparison to what Ben's family will live with for the rest of their lives."

Killers Ross Collender, 21, Daniel Ransom, 20, and Jordan Dixon, 18, will be sentenced on Friday - and face life terms.

No remorse ... Collender, Ransom and Dixon face life terms

David, who was at Ben's side when he died in hospital of brain damage, said: "Life does not mean anything to me any more. Ben was my life for he was the only one I have truly ever loved. God says we should forgive people that do us wrong but I cannot."

Ben's girlfriend Allana Devine, 28, sobbed as the court listened to David's heartbreak. None of the three thugs showed any remorse over the drunken attack - captured on CCTV in Sutton, Surrey - or gave evidence at the trial.

After the convictions it emerged both Collender and Dixon have long records. Collender was found guilty of resisting a cop days before the murder. Dixon had been in trouble for possessing a blade and assault.

HANGING was brought to Britain by Anglo-Saxons 1,600 years ago.

Tyburn Tree was last used in 1783 when hangings were moved to London's Newgate Gaol due to the unruly nature of the watching crowds, thousands of whom would have paid good money to watch the hangings on specially-erected, sports stadium-style grandstands

Thieves, blasphemers, prisoners of war and killers could all hang.

The village of Tyburn, now Marble Arch in central London, became the main place of execution in the 1200s.

The condemned were paraded through the streets in carts - alongside their coffins - the three miles from Newgate Gaol (the streets lined with thousands of people who would throw mud and even dead dogs or cats at the condemned if they were unpopular or flowers if they were popular), then along Tyburn Road, later renamed Oxford Street, to the Tyburn Tree. Newgate Gaol, which was notorious throughout the country, was demolished in 1902 and the present day Old Bailey occupies the site.

Oliver Cromwell was hanged on it in 1661, after he had been DEAD for three years. Public hangings in Britain, popular in the 1700s when over TWO HUNDRED crimes (such as stealing a handkerchief or being outdoors at night with a blackened face) could lead to the gallows, ended in 1868.

Petty thief John Lee, 20, survived in 1884 when the Exeter Jail scaffold failed to open THREE times. He got life imprisonment instead.

Gwynne Evans, 24, and Peter Allen, 21, who murdered a man in Workington, Cumbria, were the last to hang, on August 13, 1964.

Ruth Ellis, 28, who killed her lover in North London, was the last woman to be executed, on July 13, 1955.

Black cap for death

A PRISONER knew he faced the death penalty when the judge reached for the "black cap" - a nine-inch square piece of cloth.

The judge would ask if there was "any reason" he should not pass sentence, as clerics and pregnant women could be exempted (the baby would end up being born on the lice-infested floor of a Newgate Gaol cell instead).

If neither applied, he put the cap on his wig and told the prisoner he'd be taken "to a place of execution where you will be hanged by the neck until you are dead".

He would finish: "May the Lord have mercy upon your soul." British judges still carry black caps in their regalia despite the fact no execution has taken place for 46 years.

Last edited by Blackleaf; Oct 17th, 2010 at 02:08 PM..
I could see the death penalty as a justifiable sentence to those three pieces of garbage. Since that isn't a method of punishment currently available there, I hope that they rot in prison for the rest of their lives. They do not deserve parole. Ever.

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