Case: Dagenham Assault: Clemuth Roberts
Clemuth Roberts
Blunt Object
Ben Harper
Status: Solved
Categories: Uncategorised
Case synopsis:

Clemuth Roberts, 58, died after being hit over the head with a plank of wood on 19 December 2016.

Police were called to reports of a fight near his home in Stanhope Road, Dagenham, at around 12.59pm.

Mr Roberts, a mechanic and DJ, was pronounced dead at the scene. The post-mortem confirmed the cause of death was blunt force trauma to the head.

On 26 September 2017 his stepdaughter's boyfriend Ben Harper, 21 (28.08.96), of Romford, was charged with murder.

Harper admitted the lesser offence of manslaughter on the grounds of lack of intent to cause grievous bodily harm on 18 December 2017. His plea was accepted by the prosecution on 8 January 2018.

On 5 February 2018 he was sentenced to a 12 year custodial term with five years extended licence after a judge concluded he was a danger to the public.

Killer Ben Harper and victim Clemuth Roberts

The Old Bailey heard Harper had started going out with Mr Roberts' 14 year-old stepdaughter after being released from a prison sentence for stabbing another youth and making threats to kill.

Harper, who was still on licence, started 'goading' Mr Roberts after he intervened in the relationship when the girl claimed she had been threatened.

He stole a pair of house keys and was seen standing outside Mr Roberts' house waving them and fiddling with the victim's work van.

Mr Roberts armed himself with a machete and tried to chase Harper away. Harper grabbed a piece of wood from a builder's skip and swung it at the victim's head, causing fatal head injuries. He then repeatedly punched Mr Roberts in the face as he lay defenceless on the ground.

Judge Sarah Munro QC said: 'Clem Roberts was a loving and loyal family man. He and his wife were as supportive as they could be of your unlawful relationship with his stepdaughter.

'You were on licence when you committed this attack and it cannot have been long before when you were released.

'You initially ran away but you selected a piece of wood and returned and hit Clem over the head with maximum force.

'You continued your attack and you punched him repeatedly to his face and head as he lay defenceless on the ground.

'You must have intended serious injury just short of grievous bodily harm. You attacked him in the street in the presence of his wife and stepdaughter.'

Mr Roberts, who came to the UK as a child from St Vincent in the West Indies, left behind six children and 15 grandchildren.

DI Justin Howick said: “This was a violent attack with tragic consequences which has had a devastating impact on Mr Roberts' family.”

Mr Roberts' daughter, Simone, said: "No sentence will take away our daily pain of losing a loved father and grandfather. We are the ones living with a life sentence."

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