Brother of man killed in robbery tells of anguish tells of anguish

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DETECTIVES hope advances in forensic science could provide new leads on the brutal killing of tycoon John Luper in a bungled robbery at his luxury home, eight years ago.

Yesterday Mr Luper’s brother, Toby, spoke for the first time about the family’s anguish following the attack in which his brother was ambushed outside his Leeds home by masked raiders who dragged him through bushes into the property and tied him up.

The raiders also tied up his wife, daughter and an au pair while the house was ransacked. The women only discovered what had happened to Mr Luper after managing to free themselves when the gang fled.

Despite attempts to resuscitate him, he was pronounced dead at the scene.

Toby Luper, appealed for help catching the killers, saying: “The death of my brother John has had a devastating impact on our entire family. John was larger than life and he has left a huge void in all of our lives.

“I want the public to come forward with any information that they may have, as just the smallest piece of information could make all the difference.”

Mr Luper, 57, a director of a number of firms including a sports management company representing football stars such as Thierry Henry, was targeted outside his home in Sandmoor Drive, in Alwoodley, Leeds, at around 11.30pm on February 16, 2004 as he walked his Jack Russell terrier.

The gang of four or five robbers bound his wife Iyican, daughter Liza Rose, and the family’s Turkish au pair with duct tape. They were threatened with violence, and one robber demanded: “Where’s the safe? Where’s the jewellery? Where’s the £50,000?”

The master bedroom was ransacked and cash and jewellery worth £100,000 was taken.

At some point that night one of the raiders is thought to have fed marmalade into Mr Luper’s mouth in the mistaken belief he was in a diabetic coma.

The women managed to raise the alarm by hitting a panic button when the gang left, bringing police at 1.45am on February 17.

Mr Luper was found downstairs, in the breakfast room.

Last night, Det Chief Insp Simon Atkinson, from West Yorkshire Police’s Homicide and Major Enquiry Team, said: “In the time that has passed since John Luper’s death there has been some significant progress in the field of forensic science and we are currently re-examing a number of items that were seized both from the crime scene itself as well as number of other searches that were carried out as part of the investigation.

“The inquiry is very much ongoing and moving forward.”

He appealed for the criminal fraternity to come forward with information that might lead to the solving of the case.

“The attack on the Luper family was a targeted and planned robbery that needlessley took the life of a father, husband and brother, and subjected three women to a horrific ordeal that they continue to come to terms with,” he said.

An inquest in Leeds determined Mr Luper was suffocated. But coroner David Hinchliff said it was still not known what had caused Mr Luper’s death. He may have been put in an armlock, had his nose and mouth blocked or pressure put on his neck and/or chest. There was no evidence to suggest he had been beaten other than being “manhandled”.

Contact police on 01924 334606.

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