THREE members of a Worcester killer’s family have been sentenced for their part in trying to cover up his crime.
Andrew Heath was found dead at 4am after an arson attack at his flat in Warndon in December 2011.
Daniel Martin later admitted placing three wheelie bins in the porch of Mr Heath’s maisonette and setting them alight.
Martin pleaded guilty at Birmingham Crown Court and was sentenced to 10 years in jail in November last year.
Yesterday Martin’s mother, sister, and his sister’s partner were sentenced for providing false information to detectives during the investigation.
His mother Teresa Martin, aged 46, of Rodborough Drive, Warndon, Worcester, was sentenced to 14 months imprisonment for providing false witness statements. She admitted lying to detectives about her son’s whereabouts in three interviews where she claimed he was at her home until at least 4.30am on the morning of the fire, however it was proved the fire was started by Martin at around 3.30am.
Following a trial in October 2013, Sarah Martin, aged 27, and her partner Matthew Davies, aged 30, both of Maple Avenue, Worcester, were found guilty of perverting the course of justice.
Martin lied to officers on a number of occasions about her and her brother’s whereabouts the morning of the fire while Davies was found guilty of providing a false statement claiming he knew nothing about the fire or his partner’s brother’s involvement.
This was proved untrue. At his trial he refused to give evidence in court or to enter the witness box and was sentenced to 10 months imprisonment, with Martin getting 12 months.
But because all three of the defendants had either been in prison on remand or on tags, they had completed their sentences in custody before they were given them in court and were subsequently released.
Detective Superintendent Paul Williamson, who led the investigation into the 52-year-old’s death, said the family still faced the consequences of trying to cover up what had happened instead of putting their personal feelings aside to help the police uncover the truth behind Mr Heath’s death.
He said: “Those who lie to the police, especially on such a serious case where someone has been killed, will have to face the consequences.
“Despite the main offender in this case, Daniel Martin, admitting he killed Andrew Heath, this has not stopped us pursuing those who have lied to the police in an attempt to protect him.
“We warned the defendants, in person and through the media, that if they did try to shield Martin they would be prosecuted, but they did not heed these warnings.
“Even though they are family members, we expect such loyalties to be put to one side when it comes to facing justice, especially for committing such a serious crime as manslaughter.”
These sentences follow the imprisonment of three men in March 2013 for attempting to intimidate witnesses in the case via social media.