Family and judge praise police for murder investigation

John Gogarty
John Gogarty
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The family of murder victim John Gogarty have thanked police for helping put his killers behind bars.

Ian Birley and Helen Nichols have been given life sentences for killing the Wombwell pensioner, who was stabbed 69 times in his home last July as the pair robbed him.

A statement from the 65-year-old’s family said: “We would like to thank South Yorkshire Police and the CPS for their tremendous work in achieving this conviction and for the considerate and sympathetic way they worked with us during the investigation and the trial.”

Trial judge Mr Justice King also praised the police investigation, telling Sheffield Crown Court: “I have been impressed by the police investigation into this difficult matter. It has been obvious to me the care which has been taken to bring together all the different elements.”

DCI Stephen Handley, who led the investigation, said: “The sentence reflects the severity of this atrocious crime and I hope it will in some way help Mr Gogarty’s family come to terms with their loss. This was a shocking crime followed by a complex and thorough investigation and I would like to reiterate my thanks to the officers involved in the case for getting us here.

“Mr Gogarty’s family has shown real strength and bravery. I hope they can move forward with their lives knowing both Nichols and Birley are behind bars.”