Beds, Herts & Bucks

Man who fled to Berlin jailed for life over 1993 murder

Justin Clarke Image copyright Hertfordshire Police
Image caption Justin Clarke was arrested in Berlin in 2016 and convicted of murder on Tuesday

A man who fled to Germany after shooting a man during a drug scam in 1993 has been handed a life sentence for murder.

Justin Clarke fled the UK after killing Paul Milburn in a country lane near St Albans, Hertfordshire, in April 1993.

The 62-year-old was arrested in Berlin in September 2016 and was found guilty after a trial at Woolwich Crown Court.

He was ordered to serve a minimum of 25 years in prison before he is considered for release.

Clarke, a former doorman from Merseyside who had also served in the French Foreign Legion, was also found guilty of conspiring to defraud and conspiracy to supply a class B drug.

Image copyright SBNA
Image caption The original Wanted poster for Justin Clarke released after the 1993 murder

The court heard that Clarke - who remained in his cell in HMP Belmarsh throughout the two-week trial and did not attend the sentencing - had attempted to scam Mr Milburn by selling blocks of wax he claimed was cannabis resin on 26 April, 1993.

Foil from Ferrero Rocher chocolates was used make it appear the blocks had a gold seal.

The jury heard Clarke and his associates knew of numerous frauds targeting drug dealers, and that each block was priced from £2,200 to £2,300.

Mr Milburn, 43, a painter decorator from Walton-on-Thames in Surrey, was shot as he sat behind the wheel of a car on Noke Lane.

After Clarke fled he became one of the UK's most wanted criminals, but managed to evade arrest for 23 years.

In a statement Mr Milburn's family said they were "pleased" with the verdict.

"The many years that [Clarke] has avoided the police have been a constant reminder of Paul's death," they said.

"We have been at court listening throughout the trial and we now have many questions that were unanswered, answered."

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