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‘Loyal’ dad and sister of Nottingham murderer helped him to avoid arrest

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The dad and sister of a murderer pleaded guilty for helping him avoid police after a stabbing in the city centre.

Ethan Austin, 21, fled the scene of the attack with a samurai sword which took place on the evening of Saturday, September 14, 2019.

His victim Lee Cooper, 28, died that night on the street outside the House of Fraser store near the Victoria Centre.

But police were unable to arrest Ethan Austin for a further nine days. He was tried and convicted of the murder of Lee Cooper in March 2020 and was ordered to serve a minimum of 21 years behind bars.

The defendant’s father Daniel Austin, 46, of Westleigh Road, Broxtowe, and his sister Shelby Austin, 26, of Pyatt Street, The Meadows appeared to the Nottingham Crown Court on March 16.

His dad set off and collected his son that night after Ethan Austin ran away from the crime scene.

He picked him up in his car in the Sneinton Market area of Nottingham city centre and drove him to a house in Edwalton.

The prosecution, represented by William Harbage QC, told the court that both Daniel and Shelby Austin were informed that there “was a problem with Ethan, and they became involved in communication”.



Lee Cooper was stabbed to death

Mr Harbage said that the defendant “must have told his father that he had stabbed someone.”

Further phone calls took place just after 9pm that night to arrange Ethan a place to stay at night, the prosecution told the court.

He spent the night at Jeffrey Austin’s home, who is another member of the family.

Phone work showed that Ethan’s sister had also been in touch with Daniel Austin soon after the stabbing.

When asked by police about his son’s whereabouts, Daniel Austin said that he has not seen him in over a week. He was arrested and taken to the police station where he was interviewed.

Just a couple of days after the fatal stabbing on September 16, Shelby was involved in a communication on Facebook where she said that she has to “sort Eth out”.

She was then approached by police the following day, when she said that she has not spoken to her brother in weeks.

Shelby Austin was subsequently arrested on September 20, 2019.

The assistance that they provided helped the defendant avoid police for nine days and delay the investigation, the court heard.

Officers found him inside an address in Sumburgh Road, Clifton, on 23 September 2019 and took him away.

Defending, James Varley told the judge that this is a family with a “complicated history”.

“Daniel Austin has an overriding motivation to protect his son,” he told the court.

After hearing all the evidence, Judge Rosalind Coe QC handed Shelby Austin eight months in prison, suspended for 18 months, after pleading guilty.

“I accept that you Shelby had that pressure to help your brother and in your words to ‘sort him out’.”

Ethan’s father, Daniel Austin, was sentenced to 16 months in prison suspended for two years after pleading guilty.

“The family history is a complicated one,” the Judge said.

“I accept that you were concerned for your son’s safety given his lifestyle and previous criminality.

“You two assisted Ethan in avoiding arrest.

“Clearly assisting an offender given the gravity of the offence is a serious matter. And this was some tangible assistance.

“He was arrested nine days later.”

Judge Coe added: “The mitigation is limited as it can be.

“You both had loyalty to Ethan despite his previous history.

“You Daniel still believe or might have believed that he was defending himself.

“And you Shelby had that pressure to protect your brother.”

Detective Chief Inspector Rob Routledge, who led the murder investigation, said: “This has been an incredibly upsetting time for Mr Cooper’s family who lost a much-loved young man to a brutal murder.

“And while his killer is safely in jail, Ethan Austin’s relatives heaped even more misery on the family by assisting him after the attack.

“I would like to pay tribute to the composure shown by Mr Cooper’s family and friends during this complex investigation.

“I hope today’s outcome brings them some closure and it also shows that we will work tirelessly to bring those who purposely assist offenders to justice.

“The investigating team’s painstaking work with regards to CCTV, automatic number plate recognition cameras and telephony helped build the case against these individuals and prove their involvement.

“I would like to commend the diligence of the detectives and officers who worked tirelessly on this investigation, in particular the tenacity of investigating officer Detective Constable Ian Walker and the work of family liaison officer Detective Constable Sharon Lowth whose support to the family has been phenomenal.”

Mr Cooper’s family said: ” We would like to thank the hard work and commitment of the investigating team, in particular DC Lowth, DC Walker and DCI Routledge who have been with us through this whole process over the last couple of years, along with the prosecution team.

“The loss of our son, Lee, is beyond any words we could ever describe, however we are relieved that further justice has now been served on those who assisted in the harbouring of Ethan Austin for nine days prior to his arrest.”

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Written by: thehitnetwork

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