John David Stamford

Guilty verdict in Scarborough murder trial

28 November 2011

John David StamfordA man has today (Monday 28 November 2011) been found guilty of a brutal murder that took place in Scarborough.

John David Stamford (right), 52, of the town’s Kelia Court, was convicted of murdering Gary Virr following a two-week trial at Leeds Crown Court.

He was sentenced to life imprisonment with a minimum of 16 years behind bars before he is considered for parole.

Mr Virr, 48, a former landscape gardener, was found dead by police officers in his ground floor flat at Eastborough, Scarborough, at 7.25pm on 23 December 2010.

Concern about his welfare had been reported to North Yorkshire Police by a friend at 5.45pm the same day.

When officers gained entry to the flat he was found lying on his back on the bed. Mr Virr had been subjected to a violent attack in which he sustained extensive head injuries.

From the results of the pathologist report, it is believed Mr Virr had been murdered late on 19 December or during the early hours of 20 December 2010.

Following extensive enquiries at the scene and in the local area, the investigation team were able to establish that John Stamford was suspected to be responsible for the murder.

Stamford was arrested at his home address on the morning of 24 December 2010 and charged with Mr Virr’s murder on 26 December 2010.

Statement from the Senior Investigating Officer, Detective Superintendent Ray Galloway:

John Stamford brutally and callously murdered Gary Virr.

He left his battered and bloodied body in the flat for several days before Gary was discovered by the police following concerns for his welfare.

The level of violence inflicted by Stamford was truly shocking.

Although we may never know the exact reasons which led Stamford to commit murder, I just hope Gary’s family can find some measure of comfort and closure in the conviction of his killer.

Statement from District Crown Prosecutor Jan Hills, Crown Prosecution Service:

This was a savage and senseless attack on a vulnerable man in his own home, by a person he had thought of as his friend.

Stamford subjected Gary to a systematic and brutal assault. Twenty-seven separate sites of injury were found on the body. We have worked closely with North Yorkshire Police to build up a robust prosecution case to put before the jury. I hope today’s verdict brings some small measure of comfort to Gary’s grieving family.


Gary VirrFamily statement

Since his untimely death in December 2010, we, the family and extended family of Gary Virr (right), have continued grieving for his loss.

The family have all been inconsolable in our grief over his passing and cannot begin to comprehend the reason why he was taken from us in such a way he never deserved.

On hearing the evidence in court of how Gary died, we consider this was an act carried out in a way that was cruel, wicked and so totally unnecessary.

We are all now left with feeling empty inside along with a feeling of utter disgust towards John Stamford.

It causes the family great pain and anguish realising that Gary will never be with us again.

He will be missed as a son, brother, husband, father and grandfather.

Gary will not be forgotten by any of his family or friends who loved and cared for him so very much.

Gary’s passing has left a huge gap in so many lives that can never be filled and the family request that those that knew and loved him remember him for his fun loving nature and recall him with fond memories.

Gary has gone from all of our lives in person, but in our hearts he will forever be remembered and loved by all of us.



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