Killer of Stanley pensioner jailed

Paul Maxwell, on trial for the murder of Joe Smailes,
Paul Maxwell, on trial for the murder of Joe Smailes,
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A BRUTAL robber who murdered a Stanley pensioner in his own home has been jailed for life more than 15 years after the crime.

Paul Maxwell, 47, cost the tax payer more than £3m over his denials and a string of appeal hearings

Yesterday on the eve of his retrial Maxwell admitted murdering vulnerable penisoner Joe Smales, 85, and robbing his brother Bert Smales, 67, at the home they shared on Moor Road, Stanley in 1996.

Maxwell and his brother Daniel Mansell, 41, were originally convicted of the offences of murder and robbery in 1998 and were jailed for life.

But the Court of Appeal overturned their convictions in 2009.

They ordered a retrial for Maxwell but not for Mansell who was discharged from the case.

Today at Leeds Crown Court Maxwell apologised to the victim’s family and said: “I have struggled to bare the cross of murderer.”

Judge Mr Justice Butterfield, sentencing, said: “More than 15 years after you murdered an 85 year-old man in his own home in the course of committing a vicious, brutal and cowardly robbery you have pleaded guilty to that offence and also offences of robbery of Mr Bert Smales in June 1996 and October 1996.”

The judge ruled Maxwell must serve 17 and a half years before he can apply for parole but said the 13 years he has already spent in prison will count.