THE mother of a Newport murderer who burned his clothing and contacted witnesses in a bid to help her son evade justice will serve a two-year prison sentence.

Catherine Coslett, 64, of Valley View Road, Cwmtillery, helped Richard Wallis, 43, of Keene Street, who was jailed for life after kicking a defenceless Jan Jedrzejewski in the head. 

She was found guilty of two counts of perverting the course of justice at Cardiff Crown Court in October, but was originally spared jail.

Coslett appeared alongside her granddaughter, Layla Willis, 20, of Trevethick Court, Newport, who admitted one count of perverting the course of justice and was handed an eight-month suspended sentence.

However, judges at London’s Court of Appeal said her crimes were so serious that she must go to prison.

The court heard Mr Jedrzejewski was left seriously injured and bleeding after being attacked by Wallis near Cromwell Stores, in Keene Street, shortly after 10pm on January 12.

Wallis had gone to his mother’s house to “lay low” after the attack and she washed the clothing he was wearing, the court was told.

She later told police he had no footwear other than what he was wearing when he was arrested on January 14.

In a series of phone calls made while he was in custody, he asked her and his daughter, Layla Willis, to burn items of his clothing and footwear as he was worried about “cross-contamination”.

They carried out his instructions and burned everything - except for one sock, which they missed, that linked him to the attack through DNA traces.

He also instructed his mother to contact key witnesses in the trial, in a bid to intimidate them into changing the statements they had made to police.

The calls were recorded and police were able to use them as evidence against Coslett.

The court heard Coslett had a previous conviction from 1998 when she was jailed for 18 months for rescuing a prisoner and using threatening words or behaviour, after she helped another son to escape from custody.

Lawyers representing Coslett said the crown court judge was right not to send her to prison because her actions - out of a desire to help her son - did not stop her son from being convicted.

They also said she suffers from a range of health problems, including emphysema, osteoporosis and angina, and would lose her home if she was jailed.

Lady Justice Hallett said her crimes were too serious for her to avoid prison - despite her poor health.

Sitting with Mrs Justice Lang and Mr Justice Stuart-Smith, the judge added: “We have reached the conclusion that the offences were too serious for anything other than a custodial sentence.

“Coslett’s efforts to exculpate her son were too many and too determined, and the offence with which her son was charged was too serious.

“She also has a relevant conviction for assisting one of her other children to evade justice.

“In our judgment, as powerful as her personal mitigation was, it was not sufficiently exceptional as to justify a suspended sentence.”

Her original sentence was referred to the appeal court by the solicitor general, Robert Buckland MP, who argued it was “unduly lenient”.

Mr Buckland said: “I welcome the Court of Appeal’s decision to increase Catherine Coslett’s sentence. 

“The murder of Jan Jedrzejewski was a despicable crime and Catherine Coslett’s actions to cover it up were disturbing.” 

“My thoughts are with the family of Mr Jedrzejewski. I hope they can take some comfort from the increased sentence today.”