08:00 Wednesday 24 April 2013

Top judges reject torture dads bid to reduce sentence that he deemed as being 'too tough'

Written byROB SMYTH

A TWISTED father who beat his own son to pulp while hanging him from a forklift truck and welding him into a cage has failed to convince top judges his sentence was too tough.

Kevin Clifford, 52, lured his son, Gary, to his workshop in Ashby Road, Moira, where he was hung upside-down from the prongs of a forklift truck and beaten savagely with a baseball bat, hosepipe and hammer.

Justice Turner, sitting with Lord Justice Pitchford and Justice Roderick Evans, said Clifford had seen red, believing that his son had stolen gold jewellery from his stepmother to pay off drugs debts.

Clifford, an engineer, of Ashby Road, Moira, was jailed for 16 years at Leicester Crown Court after he was convicted of false imprisonment and causing grievous bodily harm with intent in June last year.

Clifford’s case reached the Appeal Court as he challenged his sentence after claiming that it was excessive.

His legal team claimed he had previously tried to help his son get off heroin but had become increasingly disturbed by him bringing drugs into the house.

But Justice Turner noted the ‘gratuitous’ and barbaric violence involved and told the court: “The fact that he was involved in an attack on his own son is a serious and aggravating factor.”

Dismissing the sentence challenge, the judge concluded: “There can be no cogent complaint that 16 years was excessive.”

London’s Appeal Court heard how Clifford also contacted his 29-year-old son’s implacable enemy, John Cope, 47, of Market Street, Church Gresley, and ‘invited’ him to join in the carnage.

Also involved in the attack was Gary’s uncle, Patrick Clifford, of Cherry Tree Court, Moira, who helped Clifford tie up Gary before the onslaught began.

Gary Clifford was beaten with a baseball bat by Cope - and with a hammer by his own father - said Mr Justice Turner.

He also told the court that Mr Clifford could ‘hear his bones breaking’ as the violence intensified.

At times, his attackers ‘took breaks’ from the assault to drink beer and laugh at him, the court heard, before resuming the violence by welding Gary inside a metal cage.

He was finally driven to the Travellers Rest, in New Street, Church Gresley, where his shattered body was dumped in a cement bag and abandoned.

One medic who examined Gary said he was lucky to be alive, while another said his injuries were the worst he had ever seen.

They comprised devastating multiple fractures - including a shattered cheekbone and two broken kneecaps.

Patrick Clifford was handed a 12-year term after admitting false imprisonment and inflicting grievous bodily harm, while Cope got 16 years for the same offences.

The original incident took place in April 2011.

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