The brother of murdered John Luper says he will not be able to forgive the killers of the millionaire businessman if they are finally brought to justice after more than a decade.
Speaking on the 11th anniversary of the botched robbery at his home in Alwoodley, Leeds, which led to the death of the 57-year-old, Toby Luper said he was no longer angry but determined to ensure the culprits were caught.
John Luper, who had a clothing manufacturing business, died during a robbery at his home in Sandmoor Drive in the early hours of February 17, 2004.
He was attacked by a group of four or five masked men as he walked his dog near his neighbour’s driveway at about 11.30pm the previous night before being dragged back to his home.
His wife, daughter and the family’s au pair were tied up with duct tape and left in an upstairs bedroom before the suspects left.
When they managed to free themselves, they found Mr Luper unconscious on the kitchen floor. He was later pronounced dead at the scene. A post mortem showed he died as a result of asphyxiation.
Jewellery and cash totalling around £100,000 were taken, including a rare Cartier watch. The timepiece was platinum with vertical rows of diamonds either side of the face and was one of only four sold in the UK at the time.
Mr Luper’s brother Toby said he was sure the killers would be caught eventually, either through someone coming forward with information, advances in police technology or the gang making a mistake during a later robbery.
He said: “I don’t think I can forgive them, forgiveness in these circumstances is very hard. I would be surprised with myself if I could forgive those people.
“With the passage of time I have become more measured. At the time I was very angry, now I am not angry. Now I am just determined to ensure these people are brought to justice, that these people get a sentence that the crime they committed deserves.”
At the time of the killing, detectives said one of the attackers was a ‘reluctant robber’ and said things to the victims such as: “I wish I hadn’t come here”, “I’m not a bad man” and “I am so sorry, will you forgive me?”.
“John Luper was taken from his family in the most appalling circumstances and is understandably still very sorely missed by them. We remain fully committed to bringing those responsible to justice.”
Mr Luper, a tailor based in Leeds, said he was “a lot more security conscious” than before as a result of the murder, adding: “I take measures and steps for myself and my family that avoid us becoming easy targets.
“They walk around every day oblivious to what may happen. The fact that these people have made me think about things I never even dreamed about before this happened, that in itself has changed my life forever.”
West Yorkshire Police are continuing to appeal for information about the murder and say the answers about who was responsible are likely to “lie within the criminal fraternity”.
Detective Superintendent Simon Atkinson, who is leading the investigation, said: “Allegiances often change over the years and it may be that people are in a better position now to come forward and tell us what they know.”
Anyone with information is asked to contact West Yorkshire Police’s Homicide and Major Enquiry Team via 101. Information can also be passed anonymously to Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.