Manchester man jailed over Joss Stone murder plot

A Manchester man has been jailed for life for plotting to rob and kill international pop star Joss Stone.

Kevin Liverpool, 35, was told by a judge at Exeter Crown Court that he would have to serve a minimum term of imprisonment of 10 years and eight months before he could be considered for parole.

Liverpool and co-accused Junior Bradshaw, 32, harboured deep hatred for the soul singer.

The defendants, both of St Stephen's Close, Longsight, Manchester, were convicted by a jury of conspiracy to murder and conspiracy to rob after just four hours' deliberations following a three-week trial.

Judge Francis Gilbert QC, The Recorder of Exeter, told Liverpool: "You intended to rob her and kill her and dump her body in the river, according to your words, and then leave the country with your accomplice Junior Bradshaw."

Sentencing on Bradshaw was adjourned until a later date.

In a statement after the verdicts, Stone said: "I'd like to thank everyone for all their support and kind wishes.

"I am relieved the trial is now over and that these men are no longer in a position to cause harm to anyone."

Outside court, her mother Wendy Joseph, who attended the trial each day, echoed her daughter's sentiments.

She said: "Joss would like to thank everybody for their support and all of their good wishes.

"Joss and myself and indeed our whole family are relieved the trial is now over and these men are no longer in a position to cause harm to anyone."

Superintendent Steve Parker, who led the investigation, welcomed the convictions.

"This has been a long and difficult investigation," he said.

"While on the face of it the circumstances speak for themselves, the inquiry has involved some complex areas of law and presented significant challenges to the investigation team.

"Devon and Cornwall is an extremely safe place to live and incidents such as this are thankfully extremely rare in our area.

"I have no doubt that Liverpool and Bradshaw were intending to harm Miss Stone and it was through the alertness of the public and good police work that we were able to bring this incident to a successful conclusion.

"I would like to thank those members of the public who recognised the suspicious behaviour of Liverpool and Bradshaw and acted positively by calling the police, along with those who have supported the investigation by providing witness statements.

"I would also like to highlight the professionalism and quick thinking of the attending officers who saw through the innocent picture they were presented with and whose actions foiled the defendants' plan.

"I would also like to commend the investigation team who have worked tirelessly on this inquiry, and turned every stone to reveal the evidence hidden beneath in what have at times been extremely trying circumstances.

"Finally I would like to thank Joss Stone, her family and management for their ongoing support and assistance to the investigation team throughout this investigation, despite the distressing and disturbing nature of the events which were being uncovered.

"I am aware that as a result of this incident she has reviewed her security arrangements, but I am sure she will continue to be a prominent and popular member of her local community."

Detective Sergeant Martin Sutcliffe, the deputy senior investigating officer, added: "I am proud of the application and dedication to duty of the officers in my team who have traced and spoken to a large number of witnesses, both here and in Manchester, secured extensive CCTV, identified the origins of the vehicle and items within it, carried out searches and worked with medical experts to try and ensure all evidence relating to this incident was secured.

"I would also like to thank Joss Stone, her family and management team who have shown continued support and assisted in any way they could despite their considerable commitments."