Juliet Rowe killer must serve at least 25 years

PUBLISHED: 12:00 15 November 2009 | UPDATED: 12:19 10 June 2010

One of the country s most dangerous prisoners, who shot a wealthy supermarket owner s wife six times at point blank range during an abortive kidnap attempt at Budleigh Salterton, must serve at least 25 years, a judge ruled yesterday. Keith John Rose despa

One of the country's most dangerous prisoners, who shot a wealthy supermarket owner's wife six times at point blank range during an abortive kidnap attempt at Budleigh Salterton, must serve at least 25 years, a judge ruled yesterday.

Keith John Rose despatched 42-year-old Juliet Rowe with a Colt pistol after she tried to flee his bid to kidnap her and take her for ransom at her home in Castle Lane in September 1981. He shot her four times in the back, before finishing her off with bullets to the head and heart.

But he was not brought to justice until 1990 when he was convicted at the Old Bailey of kidnapping Victor Cracknell, a 31-year-old deputy chairman of a Surrey food wholesaling company, at his home near Guildford, leaving a £1 million ransom note behind him.

Mr Cracknell's parents were left bound and gagged by Rose, who threatened them with a sawn-off shotgun, and the victim was later taken to a secluded Devon gully where, blindfolded and gagged, he was for four days handcuffed to a tree branch with a wire noose round his neck.

Rose, who made headlines in 1995 when he managed to escape from Parkhurst high security prison, was convicted of Mrs Rowe's murder at Exeter Crown Court in 1991 and had a life sentence added to the 15-year term he was given for Mr Cracknell's kidnap.

Four weeks before the attack on the Cracknell family, Rose had approached Mrs Rowe's widower in a pub, "effectively boasting" he had been one of the many people interviewed in connection with her killing, said Mr Justice Akenhead yesterday.

After his convictions, Rose was at first considered so dangerous he joined the exclusive ranks of prisoners who are serving "whole life" sentences and will never be released.

But yesterday, after reviewing his case at London's High Court, Mr Justice Akenhead ruled he must serve a minimum jail "tariff" of 25 years for Mrs Rowe's "execution".

The judge said Rose's continued protestations of innocence and his claims of "mistreatment" in the prison system were simply "irrelevant" to the length of time he must serve.

Both crimes were committed for gain and the only explanation for the six shots he fired into Mrs Rowe's body was "a deliberate and callous intention to kill".

The judge added that, "in all probability", were Rose being sentenced for the first time today under tougher sentencing guidelines now in force, his minimum term would have been set at 30 years, or more.

Mr Justice Akenhead's ruling that 25 years is the appropriate minimum term for Rose means he can apply for parole in 2016. However, he will only then be freed if he can convince the Parole Board he is no longer a danger to society.

Most Read

Most Read

Latest from the Exmouth Journal

Hot Jobs

Show Job Lists