England

Man jailed for Biddenden widower murder and Northiam burglary

Mark Love Image copyright Kent Police
Image caption Mark Love was found guilty of murdering Roy Blackman and burglary at the home of George Digweed

A man has been jailed for at least 28 years for murdering a widower beaten to death in a burglary at his home.

Roy Blackman, 73, was found with multiple blunt-force injuries in Biddenden, Kent, on 21 March.

Mark Love will also serve 12 years concurrently for aggravated burglary at the East Sussex home of champion clay pigeon shooter George Digweed.

The 37-year-old, of Frittenden Road, Staplehurst, was found guilty at Maidstone Crown Court.

Image caption Mr Blackman's body was found at his home on 21 March

Mr Blackman was found lifeless on the floor of his home in Headcorn Road and a safe containing up to £250,000 in cash, firearms and jewellery, had been stolen.

The court heard Love was seen at Ashford Designer Outlet retail park, the day after the murder, spending hundreds of pounds on new clothes and asked staff to dispose of his old ones.

He was with William Smith, who became a suspect in the murder inquiry, and was shot dead by police during a raid on 1 May while he was on bail.

Love was charged with murder after his DNA was found on a bathroom tap in Mr Blackman's home.

Image copyright Kent Police
Image caption Roy Blackman died from multiple blunt-force injuries

Mr Blackman's family said: "The horror of what Mark Love and others did to our dad that night, together with the ransacking of his house, will haunt us forever and is truly unforgivable.

"Justice has been served today but it will not bring him back."

Det Insp Lee Whitehead said police believed the offenders intended to burgle the house but were confronted by Mr Blackman.

"In relation to the attack in Northiam, I hope this conviction will go some way in allowing the victims to move on with their lives."

Mr Digweed - who has 26 clay pigeon shooting world titles and was honoured with an MBE in 2009 - was badly beaten by intruders at his home in Ewhurst Lane, Northiam, on 21 February.

Cash, guns, trophies, medals and Mr Digweed's 4x4 car were stolen in the raid.

Image copyright Club Digweed
Image caption George Digweed and his wife were tied up by the robbers

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