THE killer of Alan Street has decided to appeal the decision to convict him - as the family of his victim prepare to deal with what would have been his 27th birthday.
Peter Leonard, 52, of Trinity Street, Oswaldtwistle was told by Judge Anthony Russell QC in December last year that he must serve a minimum of 27 years and 66 days in prison, after he was unanimously found guilty of murder by a jury.
This means he will be aged 80 before he is eligible for release. But this week the Observer can exclusively reveal Leonard is to appeal his conviction.
David Wright, clerk to Leonard’s defence barrister, Anthony Cross QC confirmed that an appeal would be set in motion soon.
Detective Superintendent Neil Hunter, who led the investigation into Mr Street’s murder, has slammed the appeal. He said: "It doesn’t surprise me that Leonard has decided to appeal, as many people who are handed a life sentence feel they have nothing to lose.
"I think the comments and sentences passed by the judge at the end of the trial show how serious a crime this was and how seriously the courts regard it."
Leonard, who was also sentenced to one year in prison for assisting an offender in the disposing of a body, appeared in the dock alongside his brother-in-law Allan Palmer and his lodger Kieron Davison in a five-week trial last October.
The court heard victim Alan Lee Street, of Lime Avenue, Oswaldtwistle who would have been 27 on Wednesday, had been stabbed in the eye, ear and back of the head with a pair of scissors, as well as being stamped on and repeatedly kicked and hit with a wooden pole following allegations he was a paedophile.
Experts estimated he would have survived the attack for up to two hours before he died three days before Christmas 2008.
Mr Street had been on a night out in Burnley, when he met up with his killers completely by chance.
Allan Palmer, who he knew from living in Oswaldtwistle, lured Mr Street back to his home.
Police say that Mr Street was ‘extremely drunk’, and not in a position to defend himself when he was attacked and a plastic bag placed over his head.
He was placed in the boot of a car before finally being dumped in an underwater culvert in Mount Street, Accrington.
Leonard was given a mandatory life sentence, while Palmer, 44, of Stockbridge Road, Padiham was also told he would spend 24 years and 66 days in prison after pleading guilty to murder.