Notorious ‘Essex Boys’ killer Jack Whomes will be released from prison

Jack Whomes, 59, and his accomplice Michael Steele, 76, were jailed in 1998 over the gangland shooting of three men who were found dead in a Range Rover near a farm in Rettendon, Essex, in 1995.

Patrick Tate, 37, Anthony Tucker, 38, and Craig Rolfe, 26, who were part of the ‘Essex Boys’ drug gang, were killed with a pump-action shotgun in December 1995 in what is believed to have been a row over drugs.

In 2018, Whomes, who has continued to launch a series of legal bids to clear his name, saw his 25-year sentence reduced by two years due to his ‘exemplary behaviour’.

He has now been cleared for release following a Parole Board hearing earlier this month.

Jack Whomes, 59, who was  jailed in 1998 over the shooting of three men, has now cleared for release following a Parole Board hearing earlier this month

Michael Steele, 76, (left) was convicted alongside Whomes (right) for the same triple murder. Pictured in 2006

A summary of the decision reads: ‘After considering the circumstances of his offending, the progress made while in custody and the evidence presented at the hearing, the panel was satisfied that Mr Whomes was suitable for release. ‘  

It adds: ‘The panel heard that Mr Whomes maintains that he did not commit the Index Offences and as a result little or no work had been completed to address offending behaviour.

‘Since being in an open prison, there had been no concerns reported about his behaviour, which the panel was told had been exemplary. ‘ 

Whomes will have to follow strict licence conditions which ban him from visiting the relatives of the victims and will have to inform the authorities of any driving he does, Essex News and Investigations reports.

He will also have to report to his probation officer for meetings.

Patrick Tate, 37, Anthony Tucker, 38, and Craig Rolfe, 26, were killed with a pump-action shotgun after their vehicle was ambushed in December 1995.

Tate sustained injuries to the head and body, while Rolfe and Tucker died from head wounds.

All three of the victims were discovered in the vehicle by two farmers, Peter Theobald and Ken Jiggins, the next morning.

The triple murder down a snow-covered farm track in the small village of Rettendon later inspired the 2000 Essex Boys movie, starring actor Sean Bean.

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Patrick Tate, Anthony Tucker and Craig Rolfe (from left to right) were all found shot dead in a Range Rover on an isolated farm track at Rettendon, Essex in December 1995

Police officers with the Range Rover on the farm track in Rettendon where the three men were found dead

Essex Police were soon alerted by the witnesses and launched an investigation, led by Detective superintendent Ian Dibley.

At the time, Det supt Dibley said: ‘This is not an ordinary murder. It looks as if they were enticed down there.

‘As far as murders go, you don’t get anymore serious than this. ‘ 

Whomes and Steele were found guilty of the killings two years later and received three life sentences with a minimum of 15 years.

Sentencing the pair Mr Justice Hidden said: ‘There is little that can be said usefully to either of you at this stage. You two men were responsible, in my view, for taking away their lives in a violent and summary way.

‘You lured them to a quiet farm track and summarily executed them. ‘ 

The killing in the small village of Rettendon was made into a 2000 film starring Sean Bean

Whomes si Michael Steel au fost condamnati dupa ce dovezile, care apoi s-au pierdut, au fost date de soferul lor de auto-evadare Darren Nicholls. Dupa ce au fost cercetati timp de 30 de ore, detectivii si-au dat seama ca inregistrarea pe banda a intrebarilor lui Nicholls Incetase inregistrarea.

Acest lucru i-a determinat pe avocatii lui Whomes si Steel sa sustina ca povestea despre evadare a fost fabricata si ambele crime condamnate au continuat sa sustina ca nu au fost responsabile pentru crimele din Essex Boys.

Un alt gangster, Billy Jasper, cu sediul in Londra, a venit ulterior recunoscand ca a fost platit 5.000 de lire sterline pentru a duce criminalul la locul crimei – dar nu a fost niciodata pus sub acuzare.