Baseball bat killers jailed for life

Image copyright Met Police
Image caption Michael Swan and Gary Beech were jailed at the Old Bailey

Two killers who battered a man to death with a baseball bat after he confronted them over drug dealing have been jailed for life.

Ian Tomlin was stabbed and beaten in the communal area of his block of flats in Battersea, south London, in October by Gary Beech and Michael Swan.

The 46-year-old victim was struck so hard the bat split, the Old Bailey heard.


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    Beech, 48, was jailed for a minimum of 21 years and Swan, 46, for 19 years.

    Mr Tomlin believed the pair were dealing drugs from Cromwell House.

    Image copyright Family Handout
    Image caption Ian Tomlin confronted his killers as they were dealing drugs outside his flat

    Prosecutor Alexandra Healy QC revealed during the trial there was “a history of tension” between Mr Tomlin and his killers.

    Police said Mr Tomlin believed Beech, who also lived in Cromwell House, and Swan, a regular visitor, were dealing drugs from the block and “often challenged their presence on the estate”.

    CCTV was shown to the jury of “a ruckus” on the first floor at about 17:30 BST on 17 October.

    Swan told police there had been an argument earlier that day and Mr Tomlin returned to confront them armed with a “long chain and a large bat”.


     

    Swan said he and the victim grappled on the floor before Beech began attacking with the bat.

    Judge Rebecca Poulet QC described it as “sustained and gratuitous violence”, saying Mr Tomlin was hit repeatedly over the head with the bat and stabbed a number of times in the neck.

    “These were terrible injuries, the result of a brutal attack with two weapons,” she said.

    Image caption Monica Tomlin told the BBC she wished her son had not got involved

    In a statement read to the court, Mr Tomlin’s 82-year-old mother, Monica, said she saw her son lying “in a pool of blood” after the attack.

    She had earlier told the BBC she was moving out of the estate after living there for 43 years.


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    She said: “Ever since it happened I haven’t walked by where it happened, I don’t use that entrance anymore.

    “I wish he hadn’t gotten involved. Maybe he’d still be alive.”

    Swan, of Enterprise Way, Wandsworth, was also sentenced to 30 months, to run concurrently, for perverting the course of justice after revealing the location of the baseball bat four months after the murder.

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