Relatives tried to help a man get away with murder following a brutal samurai sword attack.
Ethan Austin fatally stabbed 28-year-old Lee Cooper through the heart in Union Road, Nottingham city centre, on 14 September 2019.
Then shockingly, after a series of frantic phone calls, his family members, including his father, quickly plotted to try to help him evade justice.
They quickly drove him away from the crime scene and help him hide from detectives – until the net finally closed in on him.
They helped him avoid detection for nine days until officers found him inside an address in Sumburgh Road, Clifton, on 23 September 2019 and took him away.
Austin went on to be tried and convicted of Mr Cooper’s murder in March 2020.
He was jailed for life and ordered to serve a minimum of 21 years behind bars.
Those who helped him following the murder were sentenced today after pleading guilty to assisting an offender.
After the stabbing Austin’s father, Daniel Austin, aged 46, picked him up in his car in the Sneinton Market area of Nottingham city centre and drove him to a house in Edwalton.
Phone work showed that Ethan’s sister, 26-year-old Shelby Austin, had also been in touch with Daniel Austin soon after the stabbing and she was also believed to have assisted in helping her brother to avoid arrest.
Daniel Austin, from Westleigh Road, Broxtowe, was given a 16-month prison sentence, suspended for two years.
Shelby Austin, from Pyatt Street, The Meadows, was handed an eight-month prison sentence, suspended for 18 months.
Detective Chief Inspector Rob Routledge, who led the murder investigation, said: “This has been an incredibly upsetting time for Mr Cooper’s family who lost a much-loved young man to a brutal murder.
“And while his killer is safely in jail, Ethan Austin’s relatives heaped even more misery on the family by assisting him after the attack.
“I would like to pay tribute to the composure shown by Mr Cooper’s family and friends during this complex investigation.
“I hope today’s outcome brings them some closure and it also shows that we will work tirelessly to bring those who purposely assist offenders to justice.
“The investigating team’s painstaking work with regards to CCTV, automatic number plate recognition cameras and telephony helped build the case against these individuals and prove their involvement.
“I would like to commend the diligence of the detectives and officers who worked tirelessly on this investigation, in particular the tenacity of investigating officer Detective Constable Ian Walker and the work of family liaison officer Detective Constable Sharon Lowth whose support to the family has been phenomenal.”
Mr Cooper’s family said: ” We would like to thank the hard work and commitment of the investigating team, in particular DC Lowth, DC Walker and DCI Routledge who have been with us through this whole process over the last couple of years, along with the prosecution team.
“The loss of our son, Lee, is beyond any words we could ever describe, however we are relieved that further justice has now been served on those who assisted in the harbouring of Ethan Austin for nine days prior to his arrest.”