FOUR men have been jailed for life for the horrific murder of a Bradford father who was shot in the leg and doused in acid in front of his terrified wife.
Barry Selby, 50, was attacked in his own bedroom in the dead of night after a masked gang smashed their way into his family home on Rayleigh Street, East Bowling, as part of a violent feud between two rival factions on the Holme Wood estate.
Four hours earlier the same gang had driven into Farway, Holme Wood, in a black Mitsubishi 4x4 and fired shots from a shotgun and a pistol through the kitchen window and front door of another family home with four children inside.
Fortunately no-one in that house was injured, but the occupiers had suffered anxiety and psychological harm as a result.
Today/yesterday (FRI) 23-year-old Lee Calvert, who shot Mr Selby and threw strong sulphuric acid over him as his wife Donna hid behind their bed, was told he would have to serve a minimum of 36 years behind bars for his part in the murder and the shooting incident earlier that night.
On Thursday Calvert, of Stirling Crescent, Holme Wood, and three other men were found guilty of the murder charge following a six-week trial at Bradford Crown Court.
The jury also convicted Joseph Lowther, 22, of Copgrove Road, Holme Wood, 28-year-old Robert Woodhead, of Fred’s Place, Holme Wood, and Andrew Feather, 24, of Heysham Drive, Holme Wood, of murder.
Lowther and Woodhead were also convicted along with Calvert a charge of possessing a firearm with intent to endanger life.
Lowther and Woodhead will have to serve a minimum of 32 years in jail before being considered for release by the Parole Board and Feather, who acted as a getaway driver in a second vehicle, will have to serve a minimum of 26 years.
Mr Selby died from multiple organ failure in hospital four days after the attack at his home last October and during the trial the jury heard how the attack had been an act of revenge or retaliation against his son Liam who had been involved in earlier incidents with Calvert.
Sentencing the defendants today/yesterday the Honourable Mr Justice Globe said the murder had followed an 18-month period during which the two rival groups had inflicted violence on each other and had even used firearms during some incidents.
Mr Justice Globe said none of the incidents were reported to the police by those involved and their family and friends who knew what was going on did not report them through either misguided loyalty or fear of the consequences of speaking up.
‘’Without complaints and without witnesses the police were powerless to intervene,’’ he noted.
‘’The lawlessness in and around the Holme Wood estate has therefore gone unchecked for a substantial period of time. Residents and law-abiding citizens have had to put up with such behaviour for a long time fearful that giving information to the police could attract retribution from either side.’’
Mr Selby’s widow sat alongside their son as the life sentences were imposed and Mr Justice Globe highlighted her courage in identifying Calvert as being involved in the murder.
The court heard that the masked intruders had not spoken during the whole incident, but Mrs Selby had recognised Calvert’s ‘’evil’’ eyes when she looked up from behind the bed to see him standing over her husband.
After his arrest Calvert had expressed surprise when told about the identification and Mr Justice Globe said he was equally satisfied that the defendant had been surprised that Mrs Selby had had the ‘’enormous courage’’ to say that she had made the identification.
Barristers for the defendants submitted that the attackers intention had been to cause serious harm rather than to kill, but Mr Justice Globe pointed out that the amount of acid used was ‘’no squirt’’ and Mr Selby had suffered 50 per cent burns with the vast majority being full-thickness burns.
The judge said it was a virtual certainty that the victim would have been left extremely seriously injured or die.
The court heard that although Mr Selby was conscious when paramedics arrived on the scene they could see the acid burning away his skin and flesh.
The judge said he read moving victim impact statements from Mr Selby’s widow and their two daughters which described the sheer horror of what happened that night and the enormous pain and anquish that will live with them all for evermore.