Convicted killer finally owns up after his lies cost taxpayer £3m

A MAN who repeatedly denied his involvement in the murder of a vulnerable 85-year-old man cost the taxpayer more than £3m as a result of the criminal review of his original sentence.

Paul Maxwell, 46, was originally convicted in 1998 of a violent robbery along with his brother Daniel Mansell, 41, at the home of Bert and Joe Smales but the conviction was quashed in 2009 after an investigation.

On the day of his retrial Maxwell finally came clean about his involvement and said under oath yesterday he would be willing to testify against his brother.

Maxwell took the stand to read a handwritten letter addressed to the family of Joe Smales, who died of pneumonia after suffering a number of horrific injuries in the attack in October 1996.

And he revealed he would be prepared to give evidence against his brother, claiming Mansell was responsible for the injuries which took the life of Mr Swales.

Mr Justice Butterfield told Maxwell he had “lied and lied and lied again” over the years as he handed him a sentence of 17-and-a-half years.

Having served almost 13-and-a- half years since his original conviction, Maxwell could be out in just four years.

Ben Nolan QC, prosecuting, told Leeds Crown Court that Maxwell had been told about Joe and his brother Bert, 67, by prisoner Karl Chapman, while in Armley Prison.

Days after being released, after an eight-year robbery term, Maxwell and his brother barged their way into the Smales’s home, beat them and made off with £7,000.

The terrified victims never reported the incident and were re-visited on October 13, 1996, when the robbers stole £4,000.

Mr Nolan told the court that a neighbour found Joe lying on the grass outside their home, covered in blood and “hardly recognisable”. He had a fractured jaw, internal bleeding and a possible fracture to his neck.

Bert was cowering in a terrible state and covered in blood. His nose had been broken and he had suffered bruising and swelling.

Because of the immobility that his injuries caused him, Joe died from pneumonia and deep vein thrombosis.

Maxwell changed his name from Mansell prior to the brothers’ trial in February 1998 and they were both convicted, sentenced to 18 years each.

The Criminal Cases Review Commission then investigated and Maxwell maintained his innocence.

The cost to the taxpayer was over £3m while the investigation lasted six years.

That investigation centred on the credibility of a case witness.

Patrick O’Connor, mitigating, asked the court if his client could read a statement to the court.

Maxwell said: “Since my conviction in February 1998, I have struggled to bear the cross of a murderer.

“I believe that the family and friends of Joe and Bert Smales have suffered way beyond what was expected of the family and friends of a murder victim.

“I fully accept that my denials and appeals have fully added to the suffering. I simply ask that I be given the appropriate sentence so that I can pay the debt that I owe to the Smales family and hopefully they can now continue their lives in relative peace.”

When Mr Nolan asked Maxwell: “Are you willing to give evidence against your brother in a court of law?”, he replied: ”Yes”.

Justice Butterfield told Maxwell:”For 13 or 14 years you lied and lied and lied again about your involvement in these matters. Your denial and appeals, as you yourself have now belatedly recognised, have greatly added to the suffering the family. You have cost the country millions of pounds and have cost the victim’s family heartache.”