THE family of two brothers jailed for the horrific torture of a mentally-ill woman already carried a tragic burden, it can be revealed today.
"Inhuman" Matthew and Robert Grist lost a third brother Reginald, who was killed in a stone-throwing incident as a 13-year-old schoolboy almost exactly 10 years ago.
Reginald's death, which made headlines at the time, weighed heavily on the family.
This week their mother Anna, of Tremellen Street, Accrington, refused to comment.
But a family friend, who did not want to be named, said: "There is no doubt the whole family was deeply affected by Reginald's death.
"But nothing can excuse the brothers for what they have done."
Reginald, a pupil of Moorhead High School, died when he was struck by a stone near Milnshaw Park, Accrington, in February 1995.
An inquest later heard that a lifelong pal had hurled the stone following a fight over a girl. Reginald was found to have died from a tear in a vertebral artery following a sudden turn of the head.
No charges were brought after evidence emerged that the other boy had acted in self-defence.
At the time Mrs Grist said: "I think something should have been done.
"The children are angry and upset about what's happened."
This week Matthew Grist, 24, and Robert Grist, 17, were beginning jail sentences of eight-and-a-half and 10 years respectively.
A judge branded them "inhuman" after hearing of the "vicious and sadistic" torture and said their crime defied belief in a civilised society.
A shocked court heard how the mentally-ill woman suffered a three-day ordeal at her Accrington home. The two brothers and Matthew's girlfriend Zoe Bradshaw, 24, poured paint and cold water over her, rubbed dog dirt in her face, forced her to bite soap, squirted shampoo in her mouth, urinated on her, hacked her hair off, made her sit in a darkened cupboard and finally threw her naked into the street.
It was the most horrific incident during a crime spree last March in which the trio also robbed a blind man after leading him to an isolated area and throwing his white stick away.