35 years for Sobo killer Neil Crampton

A KILLER driven by rage and jealousy when he slaughtered four members of his family was last night jailed for at least 35 years for their murders.

Neil Crampton

A KILLER driven by rage and jealousy when he slaughtered four members of his family was last night jailed for at least 35 years for their murders.

Neil Crampton stabbed and slashed to death his ex-partner Liz Sobo, 36, their children Abigail, 12, and five-year-old Steven and her brother Yemi Sobo, 41.

Sentencing Crampton, Mr Justice Wilkie told him: This was killing of the utmost savagery. You showed no mercy and in your fury you inflicted on each of them many, many blows with a knife.

The former taxi driver claimed he was suffering from depression and jealousy at the time of the killings to such a degree his responsibility for his actions was substantially impaired.

But prosecutors said that faced with a final rejection by Ms Sobo, who had made it clear she did not want him back, Crampton lost his temper and set out to destroy what he knew he could never possess.

The 36-year-old, of Huntley Crescent, Winlaton, Gateshead, had denied four charges of murder on the grounds of diminished responsibility but was found guilty by majority verdicts on all four counts after a trial.

Imposing mandatory life sentences at Newcastle Crown Court, the judge ruled Crampton must serve a minimum 35 years behind bars before he is considered for parole.

He told him: I am satisfied, as has been the jury, that you were fully responsible for your actions. You snuffed out the life of a young woman, Liz Sobo, of whom no one bar you had had a bad word to say.

She was plainly a delightful, bubbly person, a good mother and generous to you in her attempts to persuade you to be a worthy father to your children.

Her brother, Yemi Sobo, by all accounts was a highly popular respected public figure, who also supported his sister, niece and nephew. You ended the lives of your two young children, Abigail and Steven almost before they began.

Mr Justice Wilkie said he had full regard for the impact of the losses suffered by the Sobo family, some of whom were in court to see Crampton sentenced.

He told Crampton: The reason for these murders was none other than your pathetic sense of rage when she finally persuaded you that your relationship with her had no future. That alone and your inability to cope with that commonplace fact of life caused you to cut them down in a savage way.

The judge said the fact Crampton had killed four people, two of them particularly vulnerable because of their age and the sustained savagery of the attacks were all aggravating features.

He said a further aggravating feature was that Crampton had in rage, by his own admission, inflicted further wounds on the bodies of the two adult victims.

The judge said he took into account that although insufficient to reduce his culpability in law, Crampton had been suffering clinical depression at the time of the killings.

He said he also bore in mind he had no previous convictions and a letter Crampton had written expressing his remorse for what he had done. He told him: Whether or not that is genuine remorse or concern for your own position is something only you know. You must answer to yourself for what you have done.

The judge said Crampton, who stood with his head bowed, would only be released from prison when the parole board concluded it was safe to do so.

Speaking after the case, Det Chief Insp Steve Binks, of Northumbria Police, said: Crampton is an evil and dangerous man who has shown no remorse for his victims.

I would like to pay tribute to the Sobo family for the dignity they have shown throughout after losing four members of their family. Also Mr and Mrs Crampton who have lost their only two grandchildren. There are no winners in a case like this.

Page 2: Family 'yet to wake from nightmare'

Family 'yet to wake from nightmare'

Tunde Sobo

THE grandmother of Abigail and Steven Crampton last night said her family had yet to wake from their nightmare.

Tunde Sobo, who still lives in the Kenton home where her son, daughter and grandchildren were killed, also said evil Neil Crampton had been welcomed into the family, but destroyed much of what was precious.

In a statement released through Northumbria Police, Mrs Sobo said she and son Yinka have been waiting for two years for the jurys verdict.

She said: My son and I have waited for the day that justice will be delivered. I did not believe it would take two years to reach a conclusion at court. The wait has been the longest, most painful period of my life.

The family has not yet woken from this awful nightmare, which has become a reality due to the actions of an evil man. Neil Crampton became part of our family and in turn destroyed much of what was precious.

Our lives will never be the same. We will never have their lives back and whatever judgment he gets will not undo or bring back my happy family. We might get a small measure of comfort knowing that justice has been delivered and he is going to pay for his actions.

Page 3: CCTV images of killer's visit to store

CCTV images of killer's visit to store

CCTV footage of Neil Crampton at B&Q

THIS is the chilling moment quadruple killer Neil Crampton calmly strolled into a DIY store during his suicide bid.

Crampton spent the entire night amid the carnage he created in the family home in Kenton, repeatedly attempting to kill himself.

He told police he first hooked a pair of trousers round his neck and over a beam in the garage and jumped off a bucket, but the beam broke.

He told officers he then tried to slash his wrists, then filled the bath with water and tried to drown, then electrocute himself.

After calling police just before 9am on Tuesday, November 14, he fled the house before 999 crews arrived. As the CCTV pictures show, he then drove to the B&Q store in Swalwell to buy a knife.

Det Supt Steve Wade said staff at the store had no reason to suspect him of anything.

He parked near Blaydon Rugby Club and went into the Derwent Walk Country Park to slash his wrists.

When that failed, he went to his parents house, where he was arrested.

Following his arrest, Crampton was interviewed five times by police.

He initially admitted killing his former partner and his brother but took three days to admit he killed the children.

He has never offered any explanation or shown any remorse.

Page 4: Killer can't explain actions parents

Killer can't explain actions parents

Neil Crampton

NEIL Crampton still hasnt explained his actions, even to his parents.

Bill and Ann Crampton had been buying Christmas presents for grandchildren Abigail and Steven when they returned to their home in Huntley Crescent, Winlaton, Gateshead, on November 14, 2006.

But they arrived to find their street teeming with police officers, who broke to them the news that has shattered their lives.

In a statement issued through the police, Mr and Mrs Crampton said they would never come to terms with what has happened to their family. They said: We got home in the middle of the afternoon and saw the car in the middle of the road at the entrance to the street and a lot of police.

We thought at first that thered been an accident with the car, but then officers took us to one side and told us what had happened.

We still cant understand it. Neil has never shown any signs of violence, and although he knows hes done what hes done, even he cannot explain why.

He was in regular contact with Liz and the children and its possible he may have wanted to get back together while Liz wanted to move on. There may have been some pressure building up, but we still dont know what the trigger was to make him do what he did.

Page 5: Parents recall a gregarious and outgoing child

Parents recall a gregarious and outgoing child

THE ill-fated relationship between Neil Crampton and Liz Sobo began in the early 1990s when they met through mutual friends.

At that time he was 20 and working in the bar at the Students Union in Newcastle University.

He left school with no qualifications and would go on to have a number of short-term jobs including taxi driving.

His parents describe their only child as a gregarious and outgoing child who had a love of music and computers and many friends.

After meeting Miss Sobo they set up home together within a year and in 1994 Abigail was born. Seven years later he began to suffer from recurring bouts of depression and anxiety following the death of an aunt.

Crampton moved back into his parents Winlaton home in 2001 during a difficult period in his relationship with his partner, just weeks before son Steven was born in May.

She remained in Kenton with the children but Crampton continued to have unlimited access to his children, who would frequently visit their grandparents in Winlaton.

Both retired, Bill and Ann Crampton would treat Abigail and Steven to days out and Bill would teach music to his granddaughter.

By November 2006 Crampton was unemployed, a drug user and was being treated for depression.

He had become both jealous and paranoid that Miss Sobo was in relationships with other men, although there was no evidence to support his accusations.

He had turned up uninvited and unannounced on a family holiday in Turkey in May 2006, and ruined the trip by accusing Miss Sobo of being with other men.

It was, in fact, Crampton who had been unfaithful, visiting prostitutes while holidaying alone in Thailand in 2005. He also failed to provide financial assistance to his former partner.

He had no previous convictions and was unknown to the police.

Newcastle Crown Court heard last week that the couple slept together just days before the killings, after which Miss Sobo told Crampton their relationship was over.

Then on November 13 he ate dinner with her and the two children at their Kenton home. It was later that night that the argument which sparked the tragedy began.

Page 6: Victim was an 'icon in city nightlife'

Victim was an 'icon in city nightlife'

Yemi Sobo

PHOTOGRAPHER Yemi Sobo was yesterday described as an icon in city nightlife.

Newcastle bar boss Bob Senior knew Yemi for more than 20 years, meeting when he ran Julies nightclub, where Yemi was a regular, and Bob employed him to take pictures and do promotional work.

The 41-year-old captured tens of thousands of people partying at some of the best-known bars in the region, a collection which went on show after his death as part of the fundraising and tributes to the family.

Mr Senior said: He made the room sparkle when he came in. He was a popular man with the lads, and even more popular with the ladies.

He was the life and soul of the party, he was welcome everywhere because he had real charisma.

He constantly had a smile on his face. We went drinking together and we were good pals. There has been time for us to get used to it, so its not too hard, but he was an icon in Newcastle nightlife.

Page 7: Cannabis 'can warp judgment'

Cannabis 'can warp judgment'

THE Sobo tragedy was the second quadruple killing in Newcastle in the second half of 2006 both of which were carried out by habitual cannabis users.

It came four months after former soldier David Bradley shot dead four members of his own family in July that year.

Det Supt Steve Wade said he was not aware of the strength of the cannabis Crampton was using, and that he had not taken any on the night he killed his children, former partner and her brother.

Newcastle Crown Court heard last week he was a heavy cannabis user, at his peak spending up to s50 a week on the drug. Det Supt Wade said: Ive no idea as to the strength and levels of it. There was obvious evidence of habitual use, that came from his own mouth, he told us that. Ive dealt with two quadruple homicides in Newcastle in the last few years both of those have been habitual cannabis users. I cant say any more than that.

Yesterday Professor Heather Ashton, from Newcastle Universitys department of psychiatry, said paranoia was one sympton of regular cannabis use. High use of cannabis can completely warp your judgment. There are a lot of cases where people have used it before committing acts of violence.


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