Murder of Garry Newlove

Garry Newlove (5 November 1959 – 12 August 2007) was an English man beaten to death in August 2007 in the UK.[1][2] His murder caused anger in the UK over the two offenders who had been drinking underage. Chief Constable of the Cheshire Constabulary Peter Fahy called for the legal age of buying alcohol to increase to the age of 21 as a result of the Garry Newlove murder.[3] His widow Helen Newlove condemned the Government for failing to get to grips with youth disorder afterwards.


Garry Newlove was born in Salford, on 5 November 1959, the youngest of three children born to Thomas Edward Newlove (1913–1979) and his wife Ellen (1919–2002). He was married to Helen Marston from 1986 until his death, and had three teenage daughters. By 2007, he was working as a sales manager for a plastics company.

Incident and arrestsEdit

Newlove was attacked outside his house in Station Road North in the Padgate district of Warrington, Cheshire, on the evening of 10 August 2007, having gone outside to confront a gang of youths he suspected of vandalising his wife's car. He died in hospital two days later.

The murder was the culmination of numerous incidents of anti-social behaviour by youth gangs in and around Padgate, which had lasted for several years.[4]

Three teenagers were quickly arrested and charged with his murder on 14 August 2007 and remanded in custody. Four other suspects were also arrested and later released without charge.[5] A fourth teenager was charged and remanded the next day[6] and the fifth and final suspect was charged and remanded on 13 September.[7]

Adam Swellings, 19 and from Crewe, went on trial at Chester Crown Court charged with the murder on 14 November 2007, along with two 17-year-olds, a 16-year-old and a 15-year-old who could not be named for legal reasons.[8]

Verdicts and aftermathEdit

On 16 January 2008, Adam Swellings was convicted of Mr Newlove's murder, along with 17-year-old Stephen Sorton and 16-year-old Jordan Cunliffe. The two other teenagers were cleared of any involvement in the killing and walked free from court.[9] The three convicted murderers were remanded in custody until being sentenced to life imprisonment on 11 February 2008. The trial judge recommended that Swellings, Sorton and Cunliffe should serve minimum terms of 17, 15 and 12 years respectively – sentences which were widely described as lenient by the victim's family and friends, as well as the tabloid media – as these sentences meant that the youngest of the three killers could be out of prison by the age of 28, and the oldest was likely to be paroled in his mid thirties.

Garry Newlove's murder was one of a number of high profile, widely reported murders in England during the late 2000s which highlighted the rise of crime involving youth gangs. Other comparable murders around the same time which attracted national attention were the murders of Tom ap Rhys Pryce (2006), Sophie Lancaster (2007), Rhys Jones (2007), Jimmy Mizen (2008) and Ben Kinsella (2008), all of which were committed by teenagers.

Since the trial, Garry Newlove's widow Helen Newlove has actively campaigned through the media for more support for victims of crime, and for more severe sentences for criminals, as well as working with communities and working to reduce crime.[10]


Swellings and Sorton appealed against their convictions and sentences. Their case was heard at the Court of Appeal on 13 November 2008. Swellings lost the appeal against his conviction and sentence, although Sorton won a two-year reduction on his minimum sentence.[11]

Cunliffe later appealed against his murder conviction on the grounds that he had not taken part in the attack on Mr Newlove, although he had been present when it happened. On 26 July 2010, the Court of Appeal dismissed his appeal.[12] He is now reported to be challenging his murder conviction (obtained on the grounds of joint enterprise as he reportedly did not take part in the attack despite being present when the others took part) on the grounds that he could barely see the attack taking place due to a degenerative eye condition, which he and his supporters (including his mother Janet) claim would make him not guilty of murder. The campaign also calls for an end to the ability of the legal system to secure a murder conviction against someone on the grounds of joint enterprise if they were present but did not actually commit the killing. In December 2014, it was reported that Cunliffe's murder conviction would be reviewed at a later date in a re-examination of the joint enterprise law regarding murder.[13]

Popular cultureEdit

The screenwriter Jimmy McGovern later used the case of Jordan Cunliffe as a basis for a new television drama.[14] Common was shown on BBC One on 6 July 2014.[15]


  1. ^ Newlove killers launch appeals "Garry_Newlove Murderers, Adam Swellings and Stephen Sorton Appeal Against Their Murder Charges" Check |url= value (help). Archived from the original on 2011-05-22. Retrieved 2012-09-20.
  2. ^ Documentary on the crime and trial: "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2016-05-27. Retrieved 2016-11-30.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  3. ^ "Police chief urges alcohol action". BBC News website. 15 August 2007. Archived from the original on 26 December 2008. Retrieved 2008-07-23.
  4. ^ "Three convicted of Newlove murder". BBC News. 16 January 2008. Retrieved 27 April 2013.
  5. ^ "Youths remanded over man's death". BBC News. 14 August 2007.
  6. ^ "Fourth youth in court over death". BBC News. 15 August 2007. Archived from the original on 29 September 2008.
  7. ^ "Fifth youth charged with murder". BBC News. 13 September 2007.
  8. ^ "Youths accused of father's murder". BBC News. 14 November 2007.
  9. ^ "Three convicted of Newlove murder". BBC News. 16 January 2008. Archived from the original on 10 February 2009.
  10. ^ "Newlove killers jailed for life". BBC News. 11 February 2008. Archived from the original on 14 February 2008.
  11. ^ "Newlove killer's appeal rejected". BBC News. 13 November 2008.
  12. ^ "Garry Newlove killer's appeal dismissed". BBC News. 26 July 2010. Archived from the original on 28 July 2010.
  13. ^ Published on Monday 7 November 2011 11:40 (2011-11-07). "Murder teen mum's photo proof hope – Local News". Wigan Today. Archived from the original on 10 December 2011. Retrieved 2012-09-19.
  14. ^ Published on Tuesday 16 November 2010 10:58 (2010-11-16). "Jordan Cunliffe case to drive new drama – News". Wigan Today. Archived from the original on 25 January 2012. Retrieved 2012-09-19.
  15. ^ "Common: Jimmy McGovern takes on 'group' crime rule". BBC. 6 July 2014. Archived from the original on 7 July 2014. Retrieved 6 July 2014.