“KEEP him there for life.” Those were the words of Kevin Johnson’s father after his son’s killer lost a bid for freedom.
Convicted murderer Jordan Towers, 20, yesterday saw his attempt for an appeal against his conviction kicked out by three judges at London’s High Court.
Towers claimed he did not get a fair trial when he was found guilty of killing Kevin Johnson, 22, in 2007 under the controversial joint enterprise law.
Towers claimed legal advice not to take the witness stand in his own defence “doomed” him to a guilty verdict.
His lawyers fought to have his conviction referred to the Court of Appeal by the Criminal Cases Review Commission – the independent body that investigates suspected miscarriages of justice.
Throwing out his bid for freedom, Lord Justice Gross defended the lawyers’ decision that putting him on the stand would have been a tactic that might have done his defence more harm than good.
The judge, sitting with Mr Justice Burnett and Mr Justice Cooke, said Towers would have been subjected to cross-examination in the witness box.
At least two lies he had told police when interviewed after Mr Johnson’s death would have been exposed.
Kevin’s dad, John, today welcomed the decision not to allow Towers to lodge an appeal against his conviction.
John, 60, of Ryhope, said: “He was with the other two on the night our Kevin was killed, he went to court and was found guilty by a judge and jury, he had his first appeal knocked back and his second and then there’s all this.
“It’s an absolute joke. He’s where he belongs and should stay there for life.
“We would have been absolutely devastated if he got his appeal.
“All this is doing is undermining the trial judge and the appeal judges who have already rejected it.
“He has tried to appeal in some way five times now. How long is this going to go on and how much is it costing? It’s ridiculous.”
Towers’ sister Ashleigh, 31, previously told the Echo if this failed, the family would take their fight to the European Court of Human Rights if they lost their latest bid.
Towers, just 16 at the time, was one of three teens found guilty after the father-of-one was stabbed to death outside his home in Partick Road, Pennywell.
London’s High Court heard that Towers did not inflict the fatal wound but was convicted on the basis that the killing was a joint enterprise.
His barrister, Henry Blaxland QC, said Towers has always insisted that he was unaware that one of his friends had a knife or was likely to use it.
He claims he had “walked away” by the time of the killing and was in no way involved.