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Daily Record
Daily Record
Andrew Bardsley & Hannah Mackenzie Wood

Killers who 'tortured man to death' will not have jail terms extended, top lawyer says

The sentences given to Thomas Campbell's murderers were not 'unduly lenient', a senior Government lawyer has said.

The 38-year-old was 'tortured' to death' in his own home after he was ambushed by three men at his front door in July last year, Manchester Evening News reports. During the horrific two ordeal, he was stabbed, beaten and strangled, as well as having boiling water poured on his genitals.

He was then left for dead while his killers robbed him. Thomas's body was found the next day by a neighbour in the hallway of his home in Mossley, Tameside.

In January, three people, including Thomas' ex-wife of 10 years Coleen Campbell, were charged with his murder and put on trial.

Coleen was found not guilty of murder, but guilty of manslaughter. The 38-year-old had provided key information about her former partner's movements to his killers. She was sentenced to 13 years behind bars, and will have to serve two-thirds of her jail term in custody.

Stephen Cleworth, Coleen Campbell and Reece Steven were put on trial for the murder. (MEN)

Reece Steven, 29, one of the three men at the scene of the horror killing, was found guilty of murder. He was handed a life sentence, with a minimum of 37 years in jail.

Stephen Cleworth, 38, who was not at the scene but helped in the 'professional' planning of the robbery, was found not guilty of murder but guilty of manslaughter. He also received a life sentence and ordered to serve a minimum of 12 years.

Following the sentencing, they were referred to Government lawyers as being potentially 'unduly lenient'. However, it has now been confirmed that he sentences will not be passed over to the Court of Appeal.

A spokesperson for the Solicitor General Michael Tomlinson MP said: "The Solicitor General was shocked by the horrific circumstances in which Thomas Campbell was murdered. After careful consideration the Solicitor General has concluded that this case cannot properly be referred to the Court of Appeal.

"A referral under the Unduly Lenient Sentence scheme to the Court of Appeal can only be made if a sentence is not just lenient but unduly so, such that the sentencing judge made a gross error or imposed a sentence outside the range of sentences reasonably available in the circumstances of the offence.

John Belfield (GMP)

"The threshold is a high one, and the test was not met in this case." The murder trial, held at Bolton Crown Court, heard that the alleged mastermind of the robbery was 28-year-old John Belfield. He was said to have plotted with Thomas' ex-wife in the days before the killing. Police believe Coleen Campbell harboured feelings of jealousy towards her former husband following their divorce in 2021.

A third attacker, John Belfield, was said to have targeted Thomas, a convicted drug dealer, because he was in a relationship with one of his former girlfriends. Belfield, an alleged drug dealer, also believed Thomas had drugs, valuables and cash in his home.

Belfield did not appear in court at the trial and is believed to have gone on the run. GMP previously said they believe he may be hiding in Spain or Tenerife.

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