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Island care home killer jailed for life.

A jobless abattoir worker was jailed for life yesterday for the murder of two vulnerable teenagers at a care home.

Peter Newbery (23) strangled and stabbed 16-year-old friends Samantha Barton and George Green at the Leece Lodge halfway care house on the Isle of Man in February 2002.

He was found guilty of the double murder last December following a six-week trial at the island's Court of Justice in Douglas.

Sentencing him to life imprisonment, with a minimum of 20 years before he is considered for parole, Acting Deemster Simon Fawcus said Newbery had shown 'no remorse' for the killings.

Newbery, from Willaston, Isle of Man, attacked the pair in a squabble over drugs. Samantha was part of a group of drug users who regularly shoplifted to fund their habits.

The day before the murder she invited George Green, Newbery and another friend back to her home to smoke cannabis and boasted about having a rock of crack cocaine.

Newbery, said by the prosecution to have wanted the crack cocaine, returned to the house later and attacked Samantha and George, stabbing them and strangling them with shoelaces.

He also sexually assaulted both victims, both before and after their deaths.

He left Samantha's body at Leece Lodge and dumped his other victim in nearby scrubland. Both victims were known to social services and police on the island. Samantha was living a semi-independent life in her own flat at the Leece Lodge complex when the killings took place.

She had moved to the Isle of Man from Dublin, Ireland, as a young girl.

The spina bifida sufferer began suffering emotional difficulties at the age of seven, when her father left the family home and the island.

She was first taken into care aged ten and by the age of 12 she was placed in the juvenile wing of the island's adult prison, following charges of assault and criminal damage.

The decision to place her in jail at such a young age was criticised by human rights campaigners.

After the prison spell she was taken to the UK mainland for specialist psychiatric and psychological treatment.

However, her teenage years continued to be troubled and she was regularly in court for drug, assault and theft-related offences. George Green was branded a 'one-man crimewave' by a magistrate on the island in 1999, aged just 13.

His offences included assault, robbery, burglary and criminal damage.

He spent time at the Eden Grove specialist residential school in Appleby, Cumbria, but left in December 2001 and refused to return.

Isle of Man authorities have since closed Leece Lodge and vowed that it will not be a care home again.
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Publication:The Birmingham Post (England)
Date:Feb 21, 2004
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