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YOU TOOK A BRIGHT LIFE AND RUINED HIS FAMILY; Drowning gang caged.

THREE thugs who beat up and robbed a promising young musician then threw him into a river to die were caged yesterday.

The evil gang had earlier been convicted of murdering non-swimmer Jonathan Coles, 18, who had clung desperately to the parapet of a bridge before one of them prised his hands away.

Judge Geoffrey Rivlin QC told Dwayne Dawkins, Brian Alleyne and Darren Matthews: "A young man with his whole future before him was killed and a loving family has been devastated.

"No care was taken to see if he could survive. He was left in the river in the dead of night and no one lifted a finger to help."

Jonathan's fate was sealed on June 10 last year after he had been to a night club in Milton Keynes, Bucks, with some friends.

A drunken youth picked on him as they waited for a taxi home.

Short-sighted Jonathan and his pals ran off, but were chased by a gang including Dawkins, Alleyne and Matthews.

They caught him, beat him up and robbed him of his cash-point card.

He was left bleeding and barely able to see because his glasses had come off. Later Jonathan staggered to the roadside and flagged down a car driven by Jason Canepe, 21.

But in the motor were his attackers. He was forced into the car and taken to a beauty spot near Newport Pagnell for what one of the gang chillingly called "a swim".

A-level student Jonathan, of Wendover, Bucks, was dangled from the bridge by his fingertips and then hit on the back of his hands causing him to plunge into the 16ft deep water.

Alleyne, 21, and Matthews, 17, sniggered as they pushed the terrified victim over the bridge, Luton Crown Court heard.

Unemployed Alleyne was jailed for life. Matthews and Dawkins, 21, were ordered to be detained at her Majesty's pleasure.

The trio, from Milton Keynes, had all denied murdering Jonathan.

Dustman Canepe, who admitted manslaughter and kidnap, was cleared of murder. He got seven years. His evidence had helped convict the others.

After the trial Jonathan's father Colin said: "We hope our lives can now be rebuilt again."
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Author:Carrington, Linda
Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Mar 25, 2000
Words:361
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