A top UK judge has branded a prisoner a hypocrite after he savagely killed his cellmate behind bars because he thought he was a sex offender.
John Westland, 29, who was reportedly behind bars on charges of rape and assault, will spend a minimum of 19 years in jail for the brutal murder of 22-year-old Liam Deane.
According to The Mirror, Deane was previously jailed after murdering his two-day old daughter when she wouldn’t stop crying. A jury found that Westland, who had only shared a cell with Deane for several weeks, decided to take the law into his own hands and end Deane’s life.
According to the report, he told police that he murdered Deane because he thought he was a sex offender. In court, judge Rodney Jaeson, QC, explained that although Deane had committed a very serious crime, he wasn’t a sex offender. The judge also noted that the 22-year-old was trying to come to terms with his crime.
“It is an unfortunate part of prison life that those themselves guilty of very serious crimes, as you were, try to find another inmate they can look down on,” Jaeson told Westland. “Being suspected of a sexual offence was, in your view, reason enough to choose Liam Deane for that role. Given the nature of your offences, others might find that as rank hypocrisy.”
Leeds Live reported that Westland himself was serving an indeterminate sentence for raping and assaulting a 53-year-old woman in 2008. It also reported that while the two men appeared to get on fine, they were both bullied – particularly Deane – who was taunted by other inmates who found out about his crime.
Deane was found dead in his prison cell by prison guards with three stab wounds to his head and neck. Officers also found evidence that he had been strangled and asphyxiated. It is believed Westland used a broken aftershave bottle to stab is cellmate to death.
Jaeson said that anyone, even those convicted of serious crimes and murder, should be able to serve their sentences safely. Meanwhile, West Yorkshire Police also said that Deane and his family were entitled to expect he could serve his time in prison without having his life taken.
It took a jury of five men and seven women three hours and four minutes on the seventh day of the trial to unanimously find Westland guilty of killing Deane.