A NEWPORT drug dealer who brutally killed a young father whilst high on crack cocaine was jailed for more than 20 years.

John Junior Phillips was the ringleader of a gang who carried out a savage attack on Anthony Winter which lasted five hours.

He was convicted last month of manslaughter after a trial and killed the Cardiff drug addict over a £500 debt he owed.

The 28-year-old, known as JJ, of Baird Close, Malpas, was jailed for 22 years by Mrs Justice Jefford at Cardiff Crown Court.

Two co-defendants were also sentenced over the killing.

James Jones, aged 19, of Bedwas Close, St Mellons, Cardiff, was jailed for life, with a minimum tariff of 20 years before he is eligible for parole, after he admitted murder.

South Wales Argus: MURDERER: James JonesMURDERER: James Jones

Harvey Huchet, aged 17, of Chapel Wood, Llanedeyrn, Cardiff, was locked up for 12 years after he was also convicted of manslaughter by a jury.

Phillips’ girlfriend at the time, Lauren Hutchinson, aged 19, of Munnings Drive, Newport, was sentenced to 18 months in custody after she pleaded guilty to perverting the course of justice.

And a 17-year-old girl, who cannot be named, was handed an 18-month youth rehabilitation order and two months tag after she admitted perverting the course of justice.

She had already served the equivalent of 16 months in custody and was cleared of murder.

The judge told Phillips, who was smoking crack cocaine in the lead up to the beating he dished out, that: “You were the ringleader of a vicious and sustained assault on Anthony Winter.

“You were the leader of this gang attack. It led to persistent violence over a period of hours.”

She described the father-of-one's death as "horrific and cruel".

In a powerful victim impact statement, Mr Winter’s aunt Helen Mitchell told the court how her “laid back” nephew “didn’t have a malicious bone in his body”.

South Wales Argus: GUILTY: Harvey HuchetGUILTY: Harvey Huchet

She told the court how the Liverpool supporter had been a bright child who had wanted to be a fighter pilot.

Mrs Mitchell said her family were in shock when they found out their relative had been killed “so violently and had died alone”.

Prosecutor Christopher Clee QC told the jury during the trial how the 32-year-old Mr Winter was tortured at a Newport flat before he was later fatally stabbed in woodland in St Mellons.

He was lured to Hutchinson’s apartment at Munnings Drive in the St Julians area of Newport last November.

William Hughes QC, for Phillips, said the defendant was suffering from health issues and there was a potential for self-harm.

South Wales Argus: VICTIM: Anthony WinterVICTIM: Anthony Winter

David Elias QC, representing James, told the court the best mitigation he could put forward for him was his guilty plea to murder and his young age.

Siobhan Grey QC for Huchet said her client had shown remorse and there were hopes he could be rehabilitated away from a life of crime.

A family statement was read outside the court by family liaison officer, Detective Constable Krishna Chauhan.

It said: “In the eight months since we lost Anthony, we as a family had to wait nearly three months to lay him to rest and until now for justice.

"Anthony loved and missed his mum and dad who died three and 12 years ago respectively, but above all he doted on his two-year-old daughter who is now growing up without him. 

"We will remember Anthony as gentle man and father, always laughing, sometimes trying his luck, never cruel and without a malicious bone in his body.

"He wasn't perfect, but none of us are, and an elderly neighbour remembers how he used to help her on the bus, and even waited with her holding her shopping; and how respectful he always was.

South Wales Argus: Police outside Lauren Hutchinson’s flat in Munnings Drive last NovemberPolice outside Lauren Hutchinson’s flat in Munnings Drive last November

"Anthony was a lifelong Liverpool supporter and friends and family wore football shirts to his funeral as a mark of respect and affection.

"He also loved boxing and would watch fights with his eldest brother, enjoying a beer and a few laughs.

"Anthony was close to all his brothers and sisters and is missed by everyone - losing him has left a huge gap in our lives.

"He did not deserve to die the way he did.

"He was led into vulnerable circumstances and viciously attacked by these monsters – people he considered friends.

"We wanted the highest tariff possible for the three people responsible for his death, ultimately only one of them was guilty of murder, with the remaining two being convicted of manslaughter. 

"As a family, we would like to take this opportunity to thank the emergency services for trying so desperately to save Anthony's life on the morning he died.

"We also thank South Wales Police who worked so tirelessly alongside the Crown Prosecution Service to deliver justice for Anthony from the moment he was found, and for their unfaltering support through a very difficult time.

"The family would like to be given time to grieve and to recover from this most traumatic of experiences.”