Murder pair jailed

Gary Burley and Paul Howarth.
Gary Burley and Paul Howarth.
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Two men have been jailed for the murder of Burnley man Keith Passmore.

Paul Howarth (49), of Clifton Road and Gary Burley (45), of Herbert Road, both Burnley, were convicted of murder following a trial at Preston Crown Court. Gary Burley was also convicted of making threats to kill, but was found not guilty of possessing an offensive weapon.

The weapons used.

The weapons used.

Burley was given a life sentence with a minimum of 21 years and another two years to run concurrent for the threats to kill. Howarth was jailed also jailed for life and will serve a minimum of 20 years before he is eligible for parole.

Police attended Howarth’s address in Clifton Road, Burnley at shortly after 6-30pm on Saturday, January 10th, 2015 after he called police reporting that he had come across Mr Passmore’s dead body.

Mr Passmore (60) was found slumped in a chair in the living room and was pronounced dead at the scene.

He had been repeatedly stabbed and brutally beaten with such force that he had broken facial bones.

Keith Passmore.

Keith Passmore.

After being attacked he was taken to the bathroom and put in a bath where Howarth and Burnley attempted to clean his body before they moved him to the lounge and put him in a chair.

A post mortem examination established that he died as a result of the multiple stab wounds thought to have been caused by a knife and large pair of scissors because he had swapped his tablet device for cans of beer instead of selling it for cash.

Burley was also found guilty of threatening Paul Howarth’s ex-partner after she saw Mr Passmore’s body.

Following today’s verdict, the officer that led the investigation, Det. Insp. Andy Cribbin, from Lancashire Constabulary’s Force Major Investigation Team, said: “I would like to thank the jury for the careful consideration and deliberation they have shown in reaching today’s verdicts and I am pleased that Howarth and Burley have been sentenced for this brutal attack.

“Keith Passmore died as a result of a violent, sustained attack and the weapons and force used to cause the multitude of injuries Mr Passmore endured was shocking. At no point has either of these men accepted any responsibility for Keith’s death and their lies have resulted in his family having to go through the trauma of an initial murder trial and a subsequent retrial.

“Keith’s family have remained dignified throughout the whole investigation and court process. My thoughts remain with them at this time and I hope that today’s verdict brings some comfort to them.”