BREAKING NEWS: Doncaster man sentenced to life in prison for murder of Thomas Groome
A 39-year-old Doncaster man was sentenced to life in prison, serving a minimum of 30 years, for the murder of Thomas Groome just a few moments ago.
Following a five week trial at Sheffield Crown Court Mr Justice Globe this morning sentenced Jason Thaxter, of Hexthorpe to life in prison for the murder of Mr Groome, as well as conspiracy to prevent a burial - even though the location of Mr Groome’s body still remains unknown.
Sentencing Thaxter, Judge Globe said: "Your motivation was in the expectation of gain as the result of the death of Tommy Groome.
"There's been a huge amount of time and expense in trying to find the body to no avail.
"It's almost seven years since the death and still no evidence to the location of the body has been forthcoming.
"The family remain significantly bereaved and hideously upset as a result."
The jury returned their verdict on Friday afternoon finding Thaxter guilty of both offences.
Thaxter's sentencing follows a six-year investigation into Groome's disappearance.
His mother, June Buttle of Doncaster Town Centre, was sentenced in March last year to 16-years in prison after she pleaded guilty to the manslaughter of Mr Groome, conspiracy to prevent a burial and fraud against the Thomas Groome estate.
Following his conviction, Senior Investigating Officer, T/Detective Chief Superintendent Lisa Ray said: “My thoughts remain with the family and friends of Mr Groome as they are still unable to lay their loved one to rest because of Thaxter’s selfish and cowardly actions.
“I am very pleased with the result, as even though June Buttle pleaded guilty to Mr Groome’s manslaughter, we knew Thaxter had been involved in his death.
“We have worked relentlessly to uncover further evidence to be able to build a strong case against Thaxter, and to prove he was an intrinsic component in Mr Groome’s death.
“While there will still be untold grief and distress for Mr Groome’s family, as neither Buttle or Thaxter have provided the answers they need as to what happened to him and where he is now, I hope today they may feel some sense of justice has been served knowing that Thaxter will now also be behind bars for a very long time.”
Mr Groome was 53-years-old when he was last seen on New Year’s Day morning 2010 as he left his sons’ home in Thorne, Doncaster.
He was reported missing by his family a few weeks into the New Year and police began to investigate his disappearance.
A murder investigation was launched in 2012 and Thaxter was initially arrested, alongside Buttle, in March 2013 on suspicion of murder.
Buttle was charged in September 2014, however there was insufficient evidence at the time to charge Thaxter with any offences and he was released, however as T/Det Ch Supt Ray explains, the investigation continued: “Buttle always said there was a man present when Mr Groome was killed, but she would never confirm this man was her son.
“Thaxter also never admitted his crimes, he chose to let his own mother take sole responsibility, as well as trying to incriminate his ex-partner of Mr Groome’s death.
“The investigation has been very challenging and complex due to the passage of time and the loss of conventional investigative opportunities, however we were determined to achieve justice for Mr Groome’s family and ensure Thaxter was brought before the courts to be held accountable for his actions.”
“I can only hope that one day Thaxter, or Buttle, will reflect upon their actions and do the decent thing by telling Mr Groome’s family where his body is, so they are able to lay him to rest and finally be allowed to fully grieve for their loss.”
Mr Groome’s family have issued the following statement:
“Thomas Groome, known to his family as Tommy was a much loved Dad, Son, Brother, Grandad and Uncle. We love and miss him so much. He was a larger than life character who loved to travel and sing on the karaoke.
“On the 1st January 2010 we said goodbye to him not knowing that this was the last time that we would see and speak to him.
“Throughout the last five years, we have hoped and prayed that Tommy was still alive but our worst fears became a reality when we were told that Tommy had been killed.
“However his body has still not been found. We are devastated that we have been unable to lay him to rest in a place where we can visit and remember him and give him the funeral that he deserves.
“We would like to thank everyone who has been involved or assisted in the investigation into the disappearance of Tommy. This includes the Police in Ireland, Portugal and South Yorkshire. Without them, we would never have known what happened to Tommy.”