Murderer jailed alongside parents after father-of-three shot in face and body dumped on moor

James Sutcliffe has been jailed along with parents Kevin and Janet, after they conspired to hide the body of Tyron Charles
James Sutcliffe has been jailed along with parents Kevin and Janet, after they conspired to hide the body of Tyron Charles

A murderer has been jailed alongside his parents after a Bradford father-of-three was shot in the face at point-blank range and his body dumped on a West Yorkshire moor.

Halifax-born James Sutcliffe, 29, was today handed a life sentence for the gruesome murder of Tyron Charles last year and his parents Kevin, 60, and Janet, 62, were also sent to jail for plotting to dispose of the body in attempt to save their son.

Victim Tyron Charles

Victim Tyron Charles

Sutcliffe, who will have to serve a minimum of more than 30 years in jail before being considered for release by the Parole Board, was found guilty of murdering Mr Charles in a shipping container on a smallholding in Denholme last September.

After the murder father-of-one Sutcliffe, who lived with his parents in Hill Crest Road, Denholme, took money off the corpse before putting the body in a couple of builders bags and dumping it over a wall onto boggy moorland near Oxenhope.

Bradford Crown Court heard during the trial how Mr Charles was missing for more than five weeks and his body was only discovered by police after they secretly recorded conversations between Sutcliffe and his parents when they visited him at HMP Hull last October.

Officers were able to use locations mentioned in the conversations to track Sutcliffe's route after the killing and find the body of Mr Charles.

James Sutcliffe

James Sutcliffe

During the conversations Sutcliffe also boasted about the killing saying it was "f*** ace" and when he told his mum he had burned the clothes he was wearing at the time she said "hallelujah".

All three defendants had denied a charge of conspiracy to pervert the course of justice, but after a jury heard how they had discussed moving the body and possibly burning it they were all found guilty of that offence.

Sutcliffe was given a four-year concurrent sentence for that offence and his parents were each jailed for two years.

During today's/yesterday's sentence hearing the mother of 29-year-old Mr Charles bravely faced his killer across the courtroom as she described how his death had devastated the family.

Janet Sutcliffe

Janet Sutcliffe

In a moving victim statement Wendy Charles, who lives in the Oldham area, said all they had left were memories of her son and the legacy through his three children.

She said she could still hear the screams of his two daughters when they were told their dad wasn't coming home and she often dreamed about the killing.

"It's an image I just can't get out of my head," she said.

She revealed that the family had to mourn over a closed coffin because Mr Charles' body had been dumped on the moor for so long and she said no sentence would be long enough.

Kevin Sutcliffe

Kevin Sutcliffe

"No matter what sentence they get it will never be enough because for them it will end and they will be together again," she said.

"For us we will never get Tyron back."

The court heard how Sutcliffe was being hounded over payment of a debt of about £800 in the days leading up to the killing.

On the day of the murder Mr Charles had gone to Sutcliffe's smallholding with another man, Adrian Willams, and there was a scuffle between the defendant and Mr Williams.

After Mr Williams left Sutcliffe shot Mr Charles in the shipping container on the land and after dumping his body he tried to soak up blood at the scene with sand and cement.

The Honourable Mr Justice Lavender QC said the purpose of the conspiracy was to help a murderer avoid being convicted and he would have imposed signficantly longer sentences if they had succeeded in moving the body.

The shipping container where Tyron Charles was murdered

The shipping container where Tyron Charles was murdered

"I accept that you were trying to help your son after receiving the devastating news that he had shot someone, but family affection is no justification for a criminal conspiracy, " the judge told Sutcliffe's parents, who had in fact gone onto the moor to see the place where the body had been dumped.

Jailing Sutcliffe the judge said he had caused lifelong misery to Mr Charles' parents, relatives and loved ones.

"What you did after Tyron Charles has added signficantly to his family's distress," said the judge.

"You didn't just kill him. First you robbed his corpse. You went through his pockets and took out the money which you could find. You later joked with your parents about spending his money.

"Then you wrapped his body up in first one builder's bag and then another. You put it in your car and you drove out to a remote spot on Oxenhope moor."

When Sutcliffe was quizzed about the whereabouts of Mr Charles by the police he even had the gall to complain that they were not doing their job properly and said they needed to find "the proper murderers".

The judge said Sutcliffe had left the body to rot on the moor because he wanted to destroy any evidence linking him to the death of Mr Charles.

Sutcliffe will have to serve a minimum of 30 years and 56 days before the Parole Board will consider releasing him.

Speaking after the sentencing, Detective Superintendent Patrick Twiggs, of West Yorkshire Police’s Homicide and Enquiry Team, said: “This was a wicked crime made worse by Sutcliffe’s callous disregard for the body of his victim.

“After shooting Tyron Charles he robbed him and left him to die in a shipping container. He later returned to the scene of his crime to move the body to the moors and dump it in a bog while he considered his next move.

“He then entered into a conspiracy with his family to get rid of the body permanently and deny Tyron’s family of their fundamental right to bury him.

“All this time Tyron’s family were desperately worried and were appealing through social media to find out what had happened to him.

“I would like to thank the police investigation team whose diligent work led to the recovery of Tyron’s body and hope his family will gain some comfort knowing that the man responsible for his murder is now behind bars.”

Nab Water Lane, Oxenhope, where Tyron Charles's body was found

Nab Water Lane, Oxenhope, where Tyron Charles's body was found