Stansted Murder Trial: Jury hears of Brett Rogers’ violent past after guilty verdict

Brett Rogers

Brett Rogers - Credit: Archant

The jury in the trial of Stansted man Brett Rogers heard how he had a history of violence following his conviction at Chelmsford Crown Court today (May 13).

Flowers outside the house in Bentfield Gardens

Flowers outside the house in Bentfield Gardens - Credit: Archant

Former milkman Rogers, 23, stabbed to death his mum Gillian Phillips, 54, and stamped on her face at the home they shared in Bentfield Gardens, Stansted Mountfitchet.

He also repeatedly stabbed and caused a fatal head injury to David Oakes, 60, who had stayed with her overnight.

Rogers denied murdering them both on 22 July last year, but after an eight day trial at Chelmsford Crown Court, the jury of eight women and four men took five and a half hours to unanimously convict him of both killings.

Rogers will receive an automatic life sentence but High Court judge, Mrs Justice Whipple, will sentence him at 2pm this afternoon and announce the length of time that he must remain behind bars before he is considered for parole.

Gillian Phillips

Gillian Phillips - Credit: Archant

After the verdicts, prosecutor Simon Spence QC read out Rogers’ previous convictions, which include attacks on his parents and criminal damage on their property, which the jury didn’t know about.

In October 2011, he picked up an ornamental well from his mother’s garden and threw it at his father Peter Rogers’ window, smashing it. He used a cricket ball on a stick to smash the rear door of the family’s address.

Most Read

In January 2012, his mother wouldn’t let him in and he used a shovel to break a window in a door.

In June 2012, Rogers was convicted of battery on his father. In that incident he had shouted : “I will get a knife and stick it in you.”

The jury already knew that at the time of the murders, Rogers was on licence. He had been released from prison in March 2015 for causing grievous bodily harm with intent for breaking his father Peter Rogers’ eye socket in August 2012 at his flat in Bishop’s Stortford.

Last Thursday, Rogers attacked a male and female dock officer in front of the jury during evidence by a forensic expert. The woman Serco guard was punched in the face before reinforcements arrived and overpowered him.

Since then Rogers’ hands have been cuffed together and he was also separately cuffed to a guard. Two other male Serco officers have also accompanied him.

He sat impassively in the dock as the jury announced the guilty verdicts.

The murder trial heard that Mrs Phillips and Mr Oakes had been drinking heavily before they were killed and it would have been difficult to defend themselves. They were both covered in blood.

“Copious” amounts of blood stained the house throughout, both upstairs and downstairs. It was on walls, soaked into carpet, on kitchen, bathroom and bedroom floor, on the cream sofa, white kitchen cupboards, below the cutlery drawer and kitchen bin.

The lifeless body of Mrs Phillips, a divorced mother of two sons, was slumped on a sofa, covered in congealed blood.

She had 41 stab wounds to her head, neck and torso, including one which penetrated her skull and bone and caused bleeding in the skull. She also had 14 blunt impact marks and a trainer, belonging to her son, was linked to bruising on her cheek.

Taxi driver Mr Oakes, who lived in nearby Mountfitchet Road, had 56 injuries to his head, neck and body, both stab wounds and blunt impact. There was significant bruising to the side of his head and his left cheekbone was fractured.

His head had been kicked or stamped on. He was lying face down on the living room floor, his breath coming in gurgles. He died, shortly after paramedics arrived, of head injuries.

Mr Oakes, who joined the RAF when young, had face cancer and could only communicate through nods and blinks. He and Mrs Phillips were drinking friends, his daughter Louise Wyllie told the trial. She was his only child and had only recently contacted him after many years apart.

Seven bloody knives were found in the kitchen bin, along with blood-stained clothing and trainers belonging to Rogers.

The blade of one kitchen knife was severely bent and had both victims’ blood DNA on the blade and the defendant’s blood on the handle.

Rogers had called police and claimed the murders took place while he was away at the shops for a few minutes. He claimed that as he had walked back home he was also stabbed by a stranger who walked past him.