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Man jailed for helping murderer

PUBLISHED: 09:51 02 January 2009 | UPDATED: 07:53 01 August 2010

THE brother of a businessman convicted of killing his fiancée has been jailed for helping him evade arrest in the hours after her murder.

Robert Caunter, 39, was sentenced on Monday to three years behind bars after he was found guilty of assisting an offender.

THE brother of a businessman convicted of killing his fiancée has been jailed for helping him evade arrest in the hours after her murder.

Robert Caunter, 39, was sentenced on Monday to three years behind bars after he was found guilty of assisting an offender. Last month, his brother Christopher Caunter was jailed for life for the murder of 35-year-old Deborah Townsend on the A146 at Beccles in 2005.

Ipswich Crown Court heard that Robert Caunter, of Eldred Road, Barking, drove his brother to Essex shortly after Ms Townsend's death, where they left her body in the boot of a Land Rover, covered with towels and shirts.

Christopher Caunter, 36, then went to change his clothes at the house of friend Joseph Brown, 39. Brown, of Mild May Road in Romford, was also found guilty of assisting an offender and was sentenced on Monday to two years in prison.

Parts of Ms Townsend's scalp and clumps of her hair were found in a pool of blood by a passer-by on the A146 Lowestoft to Norwich road.

During the six-week trial earlier this autumn, Ipswich Crown Court heard that Ms Townsend and Christopher Caunter had been drinking in the Norfolk Arms pub, in Lowestoft, on the evening of July 15, 2005, but started to argue as he drove them towards Norwich in the early hours of the next morning.

When she got out of the Land Rover in a lay-by at Beccles, Christopher Caunter drove into her, injuring her legs so severely that she was unable to stand up, before reversing over her head, killing her instantly.

He then picked up the body and drove on, calling his brother Robert for help. Her partially-clothed body was found the following day in the boot of Christopher Caunter's abandoned car in the car park of a fishing lake at Newlands Hall in Roxwell, near Chelmsford.

Christopher Caunter, of Hullbridge, in Essex, took £20,000 in cash and fled to Thailand where he stayed until he was extradited back to the UK in 2007. He was found guilty of murder on November 25 and sentenced to life in prison.

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