Two Stevenage men who used a flat screen television to beat 58-year-old Peter Shickle to death have today been handed life sentences for carrying out what the judge has described as a ‘horrific murder’.

The Comet: Peter ShicklePeter Shickle (Image: Archant)

John Jamieson and Graham King – both 36 - will serve a minimum of 19 and 16 years respectively for battering Mr Shickle to death on November 6 last year at his flat in Silam Road, Stevenage.

Jamieson, of Wigram Way, and King, of Harrow Court, looked straight ahead as they were sentenced at Luton Crown Court.

Judge Richard Foster said although he accepted the two men were both alcoholics and it was this alcoholism that had driven them to beat up Mr Shickle, it could not affect the fact that the sentence for murder is life imprisonment.

He told the two men: “The background to the horrific murder of Peter Shickle was an incident at the Old Post Office pub in Stevenage on October 28, 2016, when your mother [John Jamieson] was involved in some sort of altercation with Peter Shickle.

“You heard about this and told the court in evidence you were fuming.

“On November 6 you went round the pubs of Stevenage looking for Mr Shickle and you told a member of the the bar staff at the Old Post Office that ‘he is a dead man’.

“Having found out where he lived, you went to his flat in the early part of the afternoon – by this time both of you were heavily intoxicated.

“Once inside the flat it is clear from the forensic and pathalogical evidence that matters escalated.

“At that point there can be absolutely no doubt that anyone who inflicted this injuries must have intended to kill him.

“There were 75 areas of separate external injury and the internal injuries included a punctured lung, lacerated liver and a fracatured nose and 16 fractured ribs.

“Most significantly there was a significant brain injury with widespread damage to the brain cells.

“It was the head injury that was the cause of death.”

Judge Foster was not convinced that Mr Shickle’s attempt to defend himself with a Stanley knife should have any impact on his sentencing.

He told the court that while King had played a lesser role in planning and carrying out the attack, he was “no mere bystander” and it must have been a joint attack in which both men were involved.

Judge Foster handed Jamieson a minimum of 19 years and King 16 years before each will be eligible for parole.

He paid tribute to Mr Shickle’s family who he said had sat in court throughout the proceedings with great dignity and bravery, and he hoped the conclusion of the case would allow Mr Shickle’s two daughters to begin the process of moving forward with their lives.

Inspector Pushpa Guild from the Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire Major Crime Unit said: “Jamieson and King carried out a vicious and sustained attack on Peter in his own home, which they had planned after hearing about the incident involving Jamieson’s mother.

“They will now both serve long sentences in prison where they will have time to reflect on the consequences of their actions on the afternoon that they visited Peter’s flat.

“I would like to take this opportunity to commend the way Peter’s family have conducted themselves throughout the criminal investigation and the subsequent trial. They have remained dignified despite having to hear in open court the shocking injuries that Peter suffered at the hands of his killers.”

Robbie Weber, senior crown prosecutor for Thames and Chiltern Crown Prosecution Service said: “This case represents a tragedy for Peter’s family and friends, who have been devastated by his death. I would like to pay tribute to them, and the witnesses, for their support of the investigation and prosecution.

“We have worked closely with the Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire Major Crime Unit since this investigation was launched and as a result of the hard work and diligence of the prosecution team, a just outcome has been achieved.

“We know that nothing will bring Peter back to his family and friends, but we hope that today’s convictions bring them at least a small sense that justice has been done. Our thoughts are very much with them all at this time.”