THE three killers of a convicted rapist have been jailed for a total of 61 years.

Judge Anthony Russell QC, Recorder of Preston, said the ‘deliberately prolonged and cruel attack’ merited lengthy sentences because of the ‘element of torture’ before the death of Oswaldtwistle man Alan Street.

Peter Leonard, 52, Trinity Street, Oswaldtwistle, and Allan Palmer, 44, of Stockbridge Road, Padiham, are beginning life sentences for murder.

Co-defendant Kieron Davidson, 21, of Lancaster Drive, Padiham, was given eight years for manslaughter.

Leonard must serve 28 years before being considered for parole.

He will be 80 before he is released.

Palmer, who the court heard ‘lured’ the victim back to his Stockbridge Road house where he met his gruesome death, must serve a minimum of 25 years.

Leonard was said to have motive for the attack following a previous fight with Street which he lost, and the fact that the victim was in a relationship with his former girlfriend.

Sentencing, Judge Russell, said the ‘terrible crime’ included elements of torture or at the very least a ‘form of humiliation’ with scissors used as a weapon to cause stabbing wounds.

Mr Street, he said, suffered ‘a considerable degree of pain and suffering before he died’.

Judge Russell said it remained unclear who inflicted which injuries, including facial fractures inflicted by fists, boots and weapons in a ‘sustained, brutal attack over several hours’.

Addressing Davidson, Judge Russell said he had to bear a degree of responsibility for his actions because Mr Street died in an attack he played a part in, mistakenly thinking he was a paedophile.

Judge Russell read part of Mr Street’s long-term partner Jayne Procter’s victim impact statement and complimented her ‘humanity’ after she expressed sorrow for Kieron Davidson, who she felt had been ‘misled while drunk’.

Following the case, Detective Superintendent Neil Hunter said both Ms Procter and Mr Street’s family were ‘delighted’ with the sentences.

He said: “It does bring a small crumb of comfort an some closure to this part of the grieving process.

“They have chosen a dignified silence throughout. It speaks volumes for Ms Procter that she mentioned Kieron Davidson in her statement.

"She is crystal clear who was responsible, who had the motive and held the grudge.”

As the judge sent the trio down, Leonard’s girlfriend - and relation of Mr Street - Nicola Street erupted in anger in a packed public gallery, protesting Leonard’s innocence.

Earlier, court staff had to bring out extra seats and Mr Street’s family watched on from the jury box, with 10 members of the jury who convicted Leonard and Davidson also looking on.

Paul Cummings, for the crown, recounted the events of December 19 and 20, which lead to the death of Mr Street at 29 Stockbridge Road.

The court heard Palmer’s version of events for the first time. He pleaded guilty before the five-week trial.

Alan Conrad QC, for Palmer, said that despite psychological tests showing his client’s mental state was ‘abnormal’ due to his alcoholism, it wasn’t enough for a defence.

He said although Palmer held down a long-distance driving job and a ’settled’ lifestyle, he drank heavily on weekends.

“On such a binge he encountered Alan Street and the terrible events which happened.”

Anthony Cross QC, for Leonard, said the ‘evidence was silent’ on when the gratuitous violence took place and that it was ‘impossible’ to say if his client took part in it.

Peter Wright QC, for Davidson, said his client recognised the gravity of what had happened, but that ‘he did not have the courage of his convictions to express remorse by candour and response in interviews'.

Two other people connected to the case were each given suspended sentence orders for their parts.

Leonard's partner Nicola Street, 35, who had lived with him in Arncliffe Avenue, Accrington, had taken him clothing when he was hiding out at Keith Birtwell’s house in Maudsley Street, Accrington.

Birtwell, 30, of Maudsley Street, also admitted two counts of assisting an offender, by letting Palmer and Leonard stay at his house.