Twins who killed and torched man face life
PUBLISHED: 14:20 03 December 2008 | UPDATED: 11:25 12 August 2010
A PAIR of identical twins who battered a disabled man to death and set his body alight in a row over a failed flat swap are facing life sentences. Stuart and James Head, 35, from Orpington attacked colourful retired photographer Nigel Stemp when he tried
A PAIR of identical twins who battered a disabled man to death and set his body alight in a row over a failed flat swap are facing life sentences.
Stuart and James Head, 35, from Orpington attacked colourful retired photographer Nigel Stemp when he tried to get his camera equipment back from them, beating him with sticks and a hammer before cutting his throat.
The twins had been heard joking and bragging that they were going to 'get rid' of Mr Stemp, 54, a flamboyant and popular figure in the estate where they lived.
A few days later, the victim's charred body was discovered in his bedroom.
Following a month-long trial at the Old Bailey, jurors today unanimously convicted both brothers of murder last Tuesday.
As the verdicts were announced, James Head thumped the glass screen in the dock and shouted: "I wasn't even f***ing there.
"It's not fair, we didn't do it you a*******."
Both twins were dragged down to the cells after a scuffle with the guards in the dock.
Mr Stemp, who needed two walking sticks to get around, was a well-known figure in the area.
Prosecutor Brian Altman described him as "a lonely and vulnerable individual, also a character, recognisable because of his stick and his unusual hats and clothes.
"He was not a violent man, he was easy going, and unhappily, easy to be taken for a ride."
Mr Stemp wanted to move after falling into arrears with his rent and the brothers, who were living in a bungalow in Curtismill Way, Orpington agreed to an exchange.
The switch was completed on Easter Sunday, April 8 last year, but two days later, housing association officials told the twins and Mr Stemp that the move was illegal, and they would have to swap back.
Trouble began when the brothers refused to give back camera equipment Mr Stemp had left at their home. And when the victim demanded £150 from the Heads for the damage they had caused, they grew more angry with him.
On April 12, friends of the twins visited them at Curtismill Way, where the pair boasted about how they had sworn at the disabled man when he tried to get his equipment from them.
James Head told them: "I'm going to get rid of him for good," as his brother laughed.
Five days later, Mr Stemp was dead. Firefighters found his body at his ground-floor flat at Headley House, Longbury Drive, Orpington in the early hours of Monday, April 16 last year.
He had been beaten around the head with lengths of wood and possibly a hammer before an attempt had been made to slit his throat.
James Head, of Curtismill Way, Orpington, and Stuart Head, of Glendower Crescent, Orpington, both denied murder.