THE CAGED FIGHTER Life for boxer who gunned down ‘IRA enforcers’ and buried them on farm
A CAGE fighter who gunned down two ruthless drug dealers and then buried the bodies has been jailed for a minimum of 35 years.
Thomas Haigh, 26, claimed he murdered the pair – said to be working for a Liverpool drugs ring run by the IRA – because he owed them money and feared for his life.
He will be aged 61 before he is considered for parole.
A second man who helped Haigh dispose of the bodies by burying them face down in a pit on a remote farm was jailed for five years.
Ross Stone, 28, admitted disposing of the victims and obstructing a coroner’s inquest.
Sentencing the pair, Mr Justice Mackay said the deceased “were bad men but they had a right not to be killed – trading in drugs doesn’t in this country carry the death penalty”.
During police interviews, Haigh said: “All the Scousers run London, Manchester and Scotland. They work for an IRA firm that runs Liverpool.
“The money is provided by the IRA, it’s funded by the IRA. Guns are part of their lifestyle – guns are their thing.”
He said he wouldn’t cross the gang because “they were the nastiest people in England”.
The cage fighter was found guilty by a jury of the murders of father of three David Griffiths, 35, and 31-year-old boxer Brett Flournoy from Liverpool.
Co-defendant Ross Stone was cleared of both murders.
During a month long trial a jury at Truro Crown Court heard Haigh – who was a regular fighter on the mixed martial arts scene – and Stone formed an alliance to murder the drug enforcers because they were threatening them and their families over their drugs debts.
Griffiths and father of two Flournoy were blasted with a 12 bore shotgun and their bodies cremated inside a blazing Citroen Berlingo van.
The van was then buried in a eight foot deep pit at Sunny Croft – a smallholding at Trenance Downs near St Austell, Cornwall, where Stone lived.
All four men were involved in supplying illegal drugs and the dead men – one was shot in the back and the other in the side of his neck and face – were trying to force Haigh to smuggle cocaine from Brazil to the UK, a trip he had successfully made before for them.
They had been missing for a month before police dug up their bodies from the pit.