Hanham man jailed for life over 'horrific' murder

August 03 2018

A HANHAM man has been jailed for life for the “truly horrific” murder of a Bristol businessman.

Russell Oakey, who lived in the High Street, was one of two men convicted of murdering Andrew Groves at a house in Oakhanger Drive, Lawrence Weston, in September last year.

Oakey and another man, Michael Dommett, from Shirehampton, subjected 47-year-old Mr Groves to a “prolonged beating” before setting the house on fire as they tried to destroy evidence of their crime, Avon and Somerset police said.

The blaze alerted neighbours, who called 999. When firefighters arrived, they found Mr Groves inside with multiple injuries. Despite attempts to revive him, he was pronounced dead shortly afterwards.

During the murder trial, Bristol Crown Court heard that the attack may have stemmed from a dispute after Mr Groves, who ran a garage called Andy’s Autos, withdrew an offer to buy a motorbike which had belonged to Dommett’s late father, who had been a friend of his.   

The killers, who were sentenced on July 26, had claimed Mr Groves was alive when they left the house but the claim was rejected by the jury.

Oakey, 42, must serve a minimum of 18 years before he can be considered for release, while 38-year-old Dommett, who changed his plea to guilty during the course of the trial, must serve at least 16 years. Oakey was also found guilty of perverting the course of justice.  

After the case, senior investigating officer DI Lorna Dallimore said: “Andrew Groves was subjected to a truly horrific ordeal inside the house in Oakhanger Drive, with a fire deliberately started in an attempt to conceal evidence.

“We were able to prove Michael Dommett, who had taken on the tenancy of this property from his late father, and Russell Oakey were solely responsible for Andrew’s death.

“They concocted a series of lies to distance themselves from the scene of the crime and claimed they’d left Andrew at the property asleep.

“Through a combination of forensic and DNA evidence, analysis of telephone data and ANPR cameras, we were able to expose these lies and prove they were responsible for Andrew’s murder.

“I’d like to thank Andrew’s family for their support of our investigation and I hope these convictions will help them move forward with their lives.”

The family of Andrew Groves released a statement, which said: “The sentence these two men will get will never be enough for us as a family, for we will never see our dear Andrew again.”

“Andrew was a kind and loving son, a truly beautiful person, and was loved by so many people.

“He was a hard-working and devoted family man and his sudden death has been devastating to his wife, his son Lewis and daughter Molly.”