FOUR men who hacked and beat Christopher Lemonius to death in a “vile and cowardly slaughter” have each been given life sentences and will serve a minimum term of 92 years between them.

The public gallery was packed at Oxford Crown Court today as Carlos Spencer, Otman Lamzini, Conner Woodward and Rashaun Stoute were all told they must serve minimum sentences between 22 and 24 years each for the killing.

The Oxford Times:

Yasine Lamzini, who was cleared of murder but convicted of manslaughter, was jailed for 10 years at the hearing.

The Oxford Times:

Yasine Lamzini

Handing down his sentence following the end of the major five-month murder trial Judge Ian Pringle QC called the attack at a Blackbird Leys alleyway last year “savage and brutal”.

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He said: “What took place can only be described as a savage, brutal and shocking mass group attack on a lone [...] and by then defenceless individual.

“Those few who had the misfortune of watching this attack were thoroughly horrified by what they saw. [There were] no less than 80 separate injuries.

“You all played a part in this vile and cowardly slaughter.”

HOW IT BEGAN - Our original report from the murder scene

During the five-month trial the court heard that the gang of men had chased Mr Lemonius to a house at Jourdain Road on the night of June 1 last year.

The Oxford Times:

Chris Lemonius

While there he was hacked and beaten to death in what was described by prosecutors as a ‘savage’ attack involving machetes, golf clubs and chunks of wood.

He was left for dead in the alley before police swarmed the area.

Judge Pringle said yesterday that a possible motive behind the murder could have been one of ‘revenge’ after one of the killers was assaulted in the weeks prior to the attack.

Following the onslaught on the 27-year old a cover-up operation was launched, the court heard, in a bid to hide the true extent of what happened that night.

Two men and a woman were each sentenced for their part in either planning or actively ‘covering up’ the murder yesterday.

Saffon Fakir was jailed after he was convicted of conspiracy to pervert the course of justice while Yamina and Allal Lamzini were both given a suspended jail term after lying to police.

During the sentencing hearing and before the sentences were handed out defence barristers took turns to offer mitigation for their clients in a bid to explain their actions on the night.

The court heard that there had been some ‘provocation’ after violence broke out at Blackbird Leys park just minutes before the attack on Mr Lemonius.

Referring to the murder at Jourdain Road Bernard Tetlow QC - who represented Carlos Spencer, called the attack ‘a spontaneous eruption of violence’.

Speaking of his client he said that he had also been described in character references as ‘a gentle giant’.

Michael Borrelli QC, who defended Otman Lamzini, pointed out that from the evidence of the Home Officer pathologist the violence in the back garden and alleyway lasted ‘less than six minutes.’ Other personal mitigation was offered including from Yasine Lamzini and Conner Woodward, who were described as being full of ambition with plans to live a productive life beyond release from prison.

Mark George QC, who represented Rashaun Stoute, said: “It is a trite observation but true that cases of this sort invariably involve more than one tragedy.

“Here you have one life pointlessly taken but the consequences of that is a number of other lives have been ruined.”