Stansted murder: Judge tells frenzied attacker he killed the people who loved him most

Brett Rogers

Brett Rogers - Credit: Archant

A “frenzied” son, who killed his mother and her friend in “a hail of stamping and stabbing”, looked close to tears as he was told by a judge he had killed the people who loved him most.

Brett Rogers, 23 of Bentfield Gardens, Stansted Mountfitchet, heard he must serve a minimum of 32 years behind bars before he can even be considered for parole.

Rogers, who has a history of violence towards his parents, looked stricken in the dock at Chelmsford Crown Court as the judge told him: “Your father and mother are the two people who have loved you, looked after you, who know you and who want the best for you.

“But look what you have done to them. Look how you have repaid their kindness to you.

“By your actions you have ruined your family and you have ruined your life.”

At his mother’s home, Rogers stabbed and stamped on Gillian Phillips, 54, and her friend David Oakes, 60, who was staying with her on that fateful night, 22 July last year.

Rogers denied murdering them, claiming that a stranger had attacked them while he popped out to the shop, that he encountered a man with a knife in an alleyway near the house, and he found their bodies on his return.

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He was given two concurrent life sentences and after he has been in prison for 32 years, he will still have to prove that he is fit to be set free before he is given any parole.

Mrs Justice Philippa Whipple described the defendant’s story as “incoherent” and one the jury hadn’t believed.

She continued: “The evidence against you was overwhelming.”

“The consequence of your lies is that no one apart from you knows exactly what happened at your mother’s house that evening. But these guilty verdicts at least give some justice to your victims because you have been held responsible for their deaths and you will be punished for them.”

After the sentence, Rogers’ father Peter Rogers, a self-employed electrician who lives in Bishop’s Stortford, who was in court, said: “We will never know, that’s the fact of it.”

He added: “It’s all done and dusted.”

During her sentencing remarks, the judge said Rogers had carried out a brutal and sustained attack on his mother. She had 41 stab wounds, some so forceful they penetrated bone in her skull. He had also repeatedly kicked or stamped on her with his shod foot.

The judge said: “One image which will stay in the mind of any person involved in this trial is that of the reconstruction of your mother’s face showing the stamp injury attributed to your shoe on her left cheek.

“She was left bleeding to death on the sofa in her own home. This was a terrible death, a brutal and frenzied attack by the hand of her own son.”

Mr Oakes had recently come through treatment for face cancer and was doing well.

“He too was brutally assaulted. He was found still breathing but couldn’t be saved. He had very significant bruising to the right side of his head which indicated he had been stamped on or kicked....while on the ground,” said the judge.

She said Mr Oakes had defensive wounds on his hands and knuckles.

“This was a terrible way for a man to die.”

She referred to Rogers’ previous convictions for violence directed at his parents.

In October 2011, he threw an ornamental well from his mother’s garden at his father’s car and used a cricket ball on a stick to smash a window in her house.

In January 2012, he used a shovel to smash a window at his mother’s home.

In June 2012, he assaulted his father, putting him in a headlock. He shouted the words: “I will get a knife and stick it in you.”

At the time of the murders, Rogers was on licence after receiving a 63-month prison term for inflicting grievous bodily harm with intent on his father in June 2012. He fractured his father’s eye socket.

He could no longer live with his father after his release on licence in March 2015 so went to stay with his mother.

The judge said Rogers’ previous violence was “serious aggravation” which led to his sentence being higher than the 30-year starting point.

“Here lies the real tragedy of this case. You are a man who attacks people who love you the most. You brutally attacked your father on several occasions. Within months of being released on licence you killed your mother in a hail of stamping and stabbing and also killed her friend David Oakes,” she said.

She told Rogers that the only point in in his favour was his youth and continued: “Having heard you give evidence I am prepared to accept that you lack maturity, that there’s some prospect of change as you grow older.”

Rogers violently assaulted two dock officers while forensic evidence was being given on Thursday last week in the presence of the jury.

Essex Police are set to arrest Rogers for those assaults now he has been sentenced for murder.

Prosecutor Simon Spence QC read from Mr Oakes’ daughter Louise Wyllie’s impact statement. In it she spoke of losing the chance to rebuild her relationship with her father.

She had recently married and Mr Spence told the court: “She had hoped her first year of marriage would be a happy one and clearly it’s not been.”

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