Innocent father shot and then burnt to death with sulphuric acid in front of his wife by gangsters who were targeting his son
- Barry Selby, 50, was confronted at 2am by an armed gang
- Burst into his bedroom and shot him in the legs to incapacitate him
- Mrs Selby was forced to listen in horror as her husband cried out in agony
- Lee Calvert, 23, Joseph Lowther, 22, Robert Woodhead, 28, and Andrew Feather, 23 were convicted of murder
An innocent father of three was tortured and burnt to death with sulphuric acid in a revenge killing after his son was caught up in a gangland feud.
Barry Selby, 50, was confronted at 2am by an armed gang who burst into his bedroom and shot him in the legs to incapacitate him.
As he lay on the floor they then poured the corrosive liquid over his body from head to foot while his terrified wife Donna hid behind their bed.
Mrs Selby was forced to listen in horror as her husband cried out in agony as the acid burned through his flesh caused him 50 per cent burns.
He fought for his life for four days before he succumbed to organ failure caused by the stress of his injuries.
Police who investigated the savage killing discovered Mr Selby’s son Liam had been involved in a bust up with other people on their council estate.
The killers had sworn vengeance on Liam by turning up at his family home in Bradford, West Yorkshire to kneecap and kill his father.
Lee Calvert, 23, Joseph Lowther, 22, Robert Woodhead, 28, and Andrew Feather, 23 were convicted of murder at Bradford Crown Court on Thursday.
Ringleader Calvert, punched one security guard to the floor and fought with another as the jury returned its guilty verdicts.
He had to be wrestled to the ground by three dock officers and led away to the cells by the scruff of his neck.
The court heard how the killing arose out of a string tit-for-tat incidents between two groups of men on the Holme Wood estate.
Mrs Selby was forced to listen in horror as her husband cried out in agony as the acid burned through his flesh caused him 50 per cent burns. Lee Calvert, 23, left and Joseph Lowther, 22, right were convicted of murder
The father of three fought for his life for four days before he succumbed to organ failure caused by the stress of his injuries. Robert Woodhead, 28, right, and Andrew Feather, 23, left, were also convicted of murder
Liam was said to be a member of the one of the gangs and Calvert and his friends from the other.
In the hours before the murder on October 14 last year Calvert’s gang all wearing balaclava masks and armed with guns, got out of a black Mitsubishi and fired shots at the front door and windows of a house belonging to Liam’s friends.
Then at 2am the same group drew up outside Liam’s family home smashed open the front door and stormed upstairs where his parents were in bed.
Mr Selby awoken by the noise of the front door being broken down told his wife to ‘stay out of the way’ and she crouched down between her bed and the wall as he went to face the gang alone.
He tried to prevent his attackers coming in, but the bedroom door was forced open and Mrs Selby heard her husband shout: ‘Get out,’ and then heard him being beaten up and crying out in pain.
The gang shot Mr Selby in the left leg, with the bullet going through the left leg and into the right leg, before spraying him with acid
Mrs Selby told the court: ‘He cried out, then it all went quiet and I raised my head to look around the bedroom.
The killers had sworn vengeance on Liam by turning up at his family home (general street view) in Bradford, West Yorkshire to kneecap and kill his father
‘He was lying on the floor and one of the intruders was standing over him.’
The court heard one of the gang also stormed into the bedroom of Mr Selby’s 19-year-old daughter, Jade, and threw a liquid at her but it did not make contact.
The gang then fled.
Paramedics arrived at the scene to find a bewildered Mr Selby lying on the floor with acid burns to the back of his scalp, neck, back, the back of his thighs and the back of his right lower leg.
He was taken to Leeds General Infirmary but then transferred to a specialist unit at Pinderfields Hospital, Wakefield, with 50 per cent acid burns.
He had surgery on two occasions and initially there was an improvement in his condition, but then he deteriorated and died.
Mr Simon Myerson QC prosecuting said: ‘The manner of Mr Selby’s death was shocking and upsetting.
‘What these men had done is to shoot Barry Selby in the left leg. It was a kneecapping. They then doused his back from head to foot with acid.
‘Police and paramedics who attended noticed a haze and a strong sulphurous smell and were themselves affected by the fumes.
‘Mr Selby was covered in what looked like brown paint that paramedics correctly believed was acid. Unfortunately, without knowing the type of acid, the paramedics were unable to wash it away and just had to watch as it burned into Mr Selby’s back.’
‘The flesh from his neck, back, arms and legs had been burned away. Mr Selby’s system was simply unable to cope with the stress to which it was subjected, his heart and kidneys were affected and he died.’
All were jailed for life at Bradford Crown Court. Calvert must serve a minimum of 36 years, Lowther and Woodhead 32 years each, and Feather 26
Calvert was later arrested and confessed to the killing to a fellow inmate whilst awaiting trial.
He denied murder but was convicted after a six week trial.
Joseph Lowther, 22, Robert Woodhead, 28, and Andrew Feather, 23, were also convicted of murder.
Calvert, Lowther and Woodhead were further convicted of possessing a firearm with intent to endanger life.
All were jailed for life. Calvert must serve a minimum of 36 years, Lowther and Woodhead 32 years each, and Feather 26.
Det Ch Insp Nick Wallen of West Yorks Police said after the case that officers had never seen the use of acid in such circumstances and with such ‘devastating consequences’.
He added: ‘These men broke into an innocent man’s home when he was asleep, viciously assaulted him and doused him with acid. It was a sickening and cowardly attack on Barry Selby and sadly led to his untimely death just a few days later.
‘Barry was a much loved husband, father and grandfather and is sadly missed by family and friends. The defendants have not given evidence and have never offered an explanation for what they did, but they are, without doubt, very dangerous and evil men.
‘The lengthy sentences passed down today clearly reflect the seriousness of their actions and are welcomed by the team of police officers and staff who have worked on this investigation. I would also like to thank those who gave evidence for showing great courage in coming forward.’
A statement from Mr Selby’s family, said: ‘We are extremely happy with the outcome of the trial and the verdict has shown us that justice has been served. We would like to say thank you to our close family and friends for their support throughout what has been a traumatic time.
We would also like to thank the police family liaison officers for the support they have provided over the past months.We now feel as a family that we have some closure and can start to move forward with our lives.’