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'He's a cold-hearted killer': Man jailed for killing Ipswich OAP in 2018

A 35-year-old man, who was convicted of killing an Ipswich OAP outside his home in 2018, has been jailed.

Rhys Burroughs, previously of Colchester Road, Ipswich, appeared before Ipswich Crown Court today, where he was sentenced to 17 years’ imprisonment.

Burroughs had pleaded guilty to the charges of manslaughter and attempted robbery at a hearing on May 31.

Rhys Burroughs
Rhys Burroughs

He was given an eight years and six months sentence for the attempted robbery which will be served concurrently. He was told he must serve at least two-thirds of the sentence in prison and if eligible for parole at that point, he would spend the remainder on licence.

The court praised the work of the police investigation team, including the senior investigating officer, the family liaison officer, the officer in the case and the enquiry team leader.

Clive Wyard, 74, was found collapsed on his driveway in Valley Road at 7.15am on July 20, 2018.

Clive Wyard
Clive Wyard

He had sustained injuries to his head and face, a deep cut to his cheek and other cuts to his body. He was taken to Ipswich Hospital where he died 12 days later.

A post-mortem examination determined that Mr Wyard died as a result of a severe head injury.

The court heard that the pathologist concluded Mr Wyard’s facial injuries were consistent with being struck to the face at least four times, with the injuries indicative of ‘fist blows’. These caused him to fall backwards and hit the back of his head on the ground.

Mr Wyard had left the Royal George public house on Colchester Road between 12.15am and 12.20am on July 20 to walk to his home nearby, near to the junction of Westerfield Road.

Mr Wyard was seen on CCTV, with the last footage captured on Valley Road at 12.37am, only about 200 yards from his home.

An inquiry into the circumstances surrounding Mr Wyard’s death by the Joint Norfolk and Suffolk Major Investigation Team then followed. It found forensic evidence linking Rhys Burroughs to the crime scene.

This included traces of Burrough’s DNA being found in the back pocket of Mr Wyard’s jeans, the front pocket of his jumper and on his darts case.

Burroughs was already serving an eight-year prison term for the robbery of a 79-year-old woman in 2017, during which she was pulled to the ground in a struggle for her handbag. He was charged and remanded in connection with this crime in November 2018 and convicted the following April after a jury found him guilty.

Burroughs provided no comment interviews when arrested in connection with Mr Wyard’s death. He pleaded not guilty to an initial charge of murder and attempted robbery, before admitting to committing manslaughter and attempted robbery a few weeks before he was due to stand trial.

Detective Inspector Lewis Craske, the Senior Investigating Officer, said: “Rhys Burroughs’ attack on Clive Wyard in the early hours of that summer morning four years ago, was both callous and cowardly.

“Burroughs has displayed no real remorse for his actions and has not offered any proper explanation as to what happened, but his guilty plea is an admission that he assaulted and attempted to rob Mr Wyard.

“Although Rhys Burroughs may not have intended to kill Mr Wyard there is no dispute that following the attack, he ultimately left him for dead on his driveway. This was not the first time Burroughs had assaulted a person aged in their 70s as his previous conviction demonstrates – put quite simply, his crimes are despicable.

“Clive Wyard was a greatly loved father and grandfather, who had enjoyed his usual Thursday darts night at his local pub. He should have been safe to walk home, as he always did, without fear of being attacked.

“Burroughs has refused to tell us exactly how and why he came to attack Mr Wyard, but we know unquestionably that he did assault him. His continued silence - despite his guilty plea - underlines my view of him as a cold-hearted killer, unable even now to give Clive’s loved ones the answers they deserve.

“I want to pay tribute to Mr Wyard’s children who have endured a terrible ordeal but displayed tremendous bravery throughout this investigation. They conducted numerous media interviews to help keep the inquiry firmly in the public consciousness and I am so very pleased that we were able to achieve justice for them and their dad.”