Frankham brothers walk free from court

THREE brothers have been cleared of attempted murder at a funeral in Newmarket.

After a five week trial at Ipswich Crown Court, a jury of five women and seven men took six hours to reach their verdict.

The court had heard claims that Thomas, Robert and Sam Frankham had attacked another mourner at the entrance to Newmarket cemetery on the afternoon of June 4 last year.

Larva in the wake of an attack on Michael Willett, 38.

Prosecutor Matthew Gowen claimed the attack was the result of "bad blood" between the Frankham and Willett families within the travelling community and who had not spoken to each other for 17 years.

All had denied charges of attempted murder and wounding with

intent to inflict grevious bodily harm and this afternoon (Thursday) the jury unanimously returned not guilty verdicts on all counts.

The brothers had been arrested and charged during a major investigation launched by Suffolk police codenamed Operation

Mr Willett sustained a 15cm gash to the side of his head after being struck with a meat cleaver multiple skull fractures after being beaten with baseball bats.

Giving evidence, Thomas Frankham said that while he was not responsible for the attack, he knew who it was but repeatedly refused to name the teenager he knew had been armed with the cleaver.

He claimed that the incident, during which he admitted having head-butted Mr Willett, had been an attempt by Mr Willett to provoke a fight with the aim of then calling in a gang of men armed with cleavers, machetes and other weapons who were waiting at the Waggon and Horses pub in Newmarket to butcher members of the Frankham family.

Neither Robert 'Bobby' Frankham, a former boxer, who helped train actor Brad Pitt for film roles in Fight Club and Snatch nor Sam Frankham entered the witness box to give evidence during the trial.

After the jury delivered their verdicts,Thomas Frankham, 44, of Cranleigh, Surrey, Robert Frankham, 45, of Sandy Lane, Watford, Herts and Sam Frankham, 41, of Eastriggs, Annan, Scotland were told by Judge John Devaux that they were free to leave the court.

Strict security had been in place throughout the trial.In addition to the usual checks by the court's own security staff, Suffolk police deployed a team of officers to log the personal details of everyone entering the court where the case was being heard.

Electronic scanning equipment was also used to check individuals before they were allowed inside.