Drug addict, 35, is jailed for 17 years for killing man in a robbery

Career criminal, 35, is jailed for 17 years for killing Army veteran, 74, in robbery as he walked home from playing darts at the pub – after police told family his death was an ‘accident’

  • Clive Wyard, 74, was playing darts on the night he was killed in Ipswich 
  • He walked a mile home from the Royal George pub when he was attacked
  • He was found at 7.15am on July 20, 2018, lying outside his home unconscious 
  • Rhys Burroughs, 35, was jailed for 17 years for Mr Wyard’s manslaughter 

A family who refused to accept a police theory that a grandfather had had died accidentally saw justice today when the career criminal who killed him in a bungled robbery was jailed.

Retired dock worker Clive Wyard, 74, was found unconscious on the driveway of his bungalow with serious head injuries at 7.15am on July 20, 2018.

His three children were convinced that he had been attacked while walking home the previous evening after playing darts at the Royal George pub in Ipswich, Suffolk.

Detectives initially said they were keeping an ‘open mind’ after the former soldier died from his injuries 12 days later in hospital without regaining consciousness.

Retired dock worker Clive Wyard, 74, left, was found unconscious on the driveway of his bungalow in Ipswich with serious head injuries at 7.15am on July 20, 2018 after he was attacked by Rhys Burroughs, 35, right

Pictured: Mr Wyard who was killed in a bungled robbery by Burroughs in July 2018

Rhys Burroughs followed retired dock worker Clive Wyard on his 20-minute walk home from the Royal George pub and attacked him outside his bungalow in Valley Road, Ipswich, Suffolk on July 19, 2018. A passer-by found the pensioner lying unconscious with serious head injuries on his driveway just before 7.15am the next day

The officers suggested that he had probably fallen over and hurt himself after drinking in the pub.

But the father-of-three’s family refused to believe the explanation and pressed police to continue investigating his death.

The investigation finally found evidence linking Rhys Burroughs, 35, to Mr Wyard which included his DNA on the pensioner’s darts case, suggesting that he had attacked him while trying to rob him to fund his heroin and crack cocaine habit.

Burroughs initially denied murder and alternative charge of manslaughter, saying that he had been trying to help Mr Wyard after seeing that he had fallen over.

But he later admitted manslaughter and attempted robbery. He was jailed today for 17 years for manslaughter and a concurrent eight and a half years for attempted robbery at Ipswich Crown Court.

The court heard that he was already serving an eight year prison sentence imposed in April 2019 for robbing an elderly woman of her handbag in a street attack, and a burglary.

Mr Wyard’s daughter Jacqueline Garnham, 45, read a statement outside court saying that she and her brother Desmond, 50, and sister Joanne, 49, had ‘waited four long years for justice to be served.’

She added: ‘Our gentle, wonderful and selfless father Clive can now finally rest in peace.

A CCTV image showing Clive Wyard walking in to the Royal George pub in Ipswich on July 19, 2018. He was attacked by Burroughs later that night during a bungled robbery

‘We believed from the outset that our Dad had been attacked, but challenged strongly when “wrong and harmful assumptions” were initially made by Suffolk Police about our Dad.

‘Many protocols were not followed and Mr Burroughs could have easily got away with this offence if we had listened to them, and the case had been closed.

‘Lessons need to be learned for the future, so no other families have to endure the same heartache and fight like we have.’

Mrs Garnham said she wanted to thank Detective Inspector Lewis Craske and the Joint Norfolk and Suffolk Major Investigation Team ‘for taking over dad’s case’.

She added: ‘If it had not been for Lewis and his team listening to us and their determination to uncover the truth of what happened that night, those wrong and harmful assumptions about our Dad would still be believed.

‘We will always be thankful to them all for their hard work and determination. Today we do not and cannot celebrate, as today does not bring back our loving father who was also an amazing grandfather to our nine children.

The Royal George pub in Ipswich where Mr Wyard was playing darts before he was killed

‘Dad was killed needlessly, and the thoughts of his last moments of being attacked by Burroughs and then left to die on his driveway will haunt us forever.

‘We miss our Dad terribly and the hole in our hearts will be there until we finally meet him again.’

Mr Wyard, who served as a soldier for five years in the Royal Engineers, had spent the evening of July 19, 2018, chatting to friends and playing darts at the pub as he usually did on Thursday evenings.

He left on foot at between 12.15am and 12.20am to walk just under a mile back to his detached bungalow in Valley Road, Ipswich.

The pensioner was captured on CCTV a few minutes later walking past a property slightly further along Colchester Road. Further footage showed him walking along Valley Road at 12.37am when he was 200 yards from home.

He was found on his driveway with injuries to his head and face, including two black eyes, a split cleft lip, a further cut to his lip, a deep cut to his cheek and other cuts to his body.

A post mortem examination concluded that Mr Wyard died as a result of a severe head injury, having sustained a skull fracture and a bleed on the brain.

Suffolk Police only revealed a year after his death his death that they were treating his case as murder following an ‘exhaustive inquiry’.

Burroughs of Ipswich who has nine convictions for 43 previous convictions was arrested in 2019.

Judge Martyn Levett described Mr Wyard as ‘a family man who was innocent in every respect’ and entitled to believe he could walk home safely from the pub ‘without being attacked by an offender wanting money to buy drugs.’

Burroughs earlier claimed that he had gone to help Mr Wyard after seeing him trip over while drunk, and he had handed back his darts case which he had dropped

He claimed he then saw him fall over again, and had helped him up only for the pensioner to swing a punch at him which led to him hitting him once on the cheek in self defence.

Judge Levett dismissed the explanation as ‘a pack of lies’ designed to explain away his DNA at the scene.

The judge said that Mr Wyard’s injuries suggested he had been punched four times and that he had died while being robbed.

Judge Levett added: ‘The family were led to believe (by police) that his injuries were due to an accidental stumble, but they were persistent in their search for the truth over four long agonising years.’

He praised Mr Wyard’s family, saying: ‘Their distress has been heightened by the fact that it has taken four years to hear you take responsibility for killing their father. There is nothing I can do to restore Clive’s life to his loving family.’

Judge Levett told Burroughs: ‘I reject out of hand that you really did assist him as a Good Samaritan’.

Joanne Wyard read a victim impact statement to the court on behalf of her family, saying: ‘We think about our dad dying. Did he know he was going to die? Did he know that he would never again see us or his grandchildren?’

Speaking to Burroughs, she added: ‘We have been traumatised by your actions towards the generous and loving man that we have known.

‘We have had to seek help through our GPs and seek counselling for our own mental health. The truth is that our lives have been ruined by your actions.

‘You have torn all our hearts apart. There is a gaping, round hole that can never be filled again. How cruel you are.’

Ms Wyard told the court her father had helped save lives in the Army by disposing of landmines.

She added: ‘Our dad was the most selfless person you would ever meet. He was loved by all his family and everyone who knew him. Dad was a gentle soul and he would drop anything to help anyone. He was loved by everyone.’

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