23rd Sep, 2020

Three sentenced for assisting Callum Lees killer

Sarah Mason 13th Nov, 2019 Updated: 13th Nov, 2019

A MOTHER and son have been jailed for their part in helping a convicted murderer go on the run.

Kelly and Zak Palmer along with Kelly Casey have been sentenced for assisting James Atherley who murdered Callum Lees in August 2017.

Callum was stabbed at a house party in Hopwas Grove, Kingshurst and found collapsed in nearby Haselour Road.

Atherley made off from the party and went on the run.

He managed to evade police until he was arrested in Newcastle Upon Tyne on August 30, 2017.

Phone records show Atherley called Zak Palmer immediately after Callum was stabbed,  assisted with getting cash, sim cards and used a hire car to take Atherley to Coventry where he stayed in a hotel.

Zak Palmer was later arrested and taken into custody, his mother, Kelly Palmer and Kelly Casey were then involved in taking Atherley from Coventry to Lincolnshire, money was transferred between the women and then withdrawn from an ATM.

Mobile phone records showed that the women stayed in Lincoln for around 30 minutes before travelling back to Birmingham. It’s thought Atherley went on to travel to Newcastle.

Atherley was convicted of Callum’s murder last August and sentenced to 26 years in prison.

The trio pleaded not guilty but after a five week trial at Birmingham Crown Court they were found guilty for assisting an offender.

Kelly, aged 41, from Letitia Avenue was jailed for 18 months.

Zak, aged 23, from Fallowfield Avenue was jailed for two years.

Casey, aged 38, from Letitia Avenue was sentenced for 18 months, suspended for two years.

Two other people also on trial for assisting an offender were found not guilty.

Detective Inspector Jim Colclough from the force’s homicide team said: “My thoughts remain with Callum’s family who’ve had to endure another legal process, which must have been really difficult for them to cope with.

“They’ve been extremely patient and brave throughout.

“I hope these sentences demonstrate that we will robustly pursue anyone who thinks it’s acceptable to help a murderer try and escape and not be brought to justice for his actions.

“It was an extremely painful and difficult time for Callum’s family, their actions were selfish and criminal.

“Atherley and his accomplices thought they were clever enough to evade police capture, they were wrong, and in addition to putting Atherley behind bars for a substantial time, we’ve also been able to get convictions against those who tried to help him.

“I hope these sentences provide some further closure for Callum’s family.”

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