Two men have been jailed for a minimum of 23 years for an unprovoked attack on New Year's Eve that left one man dead and four others injured. Donald Pemberton, 21, and Ryan Williams, 22, from St Budeaux, Plymouth were jailed for life on 10 December at Plymouth Crown Court.
The court heard how the pair had armed themselves before they went out and had posed for photographs with knives just an hour before they attacked Tanis Bhandari. They posted the pictures to Facebook before they fatally stabbed the 27-year-old builder in the back.
The pair were both charged with one count of murder, three counts of wounding with intent and one count of actual bodily harm for the attack which took place outside the Kings Arms pub in Tamerton Foliot, north of Plymouth, Devon. Williams had admitted to all counts earlier in the trial, whilst Pemberton was found guilty after a trial.
Tanis' friends were with him on the night he was murdered and witnesses say that the two killers approached a crowd of them to ask for a cigarette. Tanis was said to have been stabbed in the back as he tried to protect himself and his friends from the blows of his killers.
Pemberton was released from prison just two weeks before the incident and the court heard how he had a chequered history including assaults and carrying weapons including meat cleavers and machetes - for which he had received prison time. A girlfriend of one of the injured men Sean Cordon, was Dina Moore. She told the trial, according to the Mirror: "It was like a massacre had happened."
Sean Cordon, Jamie Healy, George Walker and Matthew Daw were all injured in the brutal attack after the crowd had spent an evening in the pub. Jamie Healy lost a kidney and had to have his spleen removed after the incident.
Detective Inspector Ian Ringrose from Devon and Cornwall Police's Major Crime Investigation Team said: "We welcome the guilty verdict which will see both Donald Pemberton and Ryan Williams serve life sentences for the murder of Tanis Bhandari.
"Both men have not only been convicted of Tanis' murder, but also for assaults on Jamie Healy, Sean Cordon, George Walker and Matthew Daw.
"This was a senseless, unprovoked and horrific attack on a group of friends celebrating the New Year. Tanis Bhandari lost his life at the age of 27 years and the attack has had a profound impact on the victims, their families, friends and the community."
Detective Inspector Ringrose added: "The Major Crime Investigation Team conducted a thorough investigation into the tragic events that night. However, the result would not have been possible without the actions of officers who attended the incident on the night and support of the community, in particular the very close community of Tamerton Foliot.
"Tanis' family, the victims who survived, their family, friends and the community have acted with dignity throughout this ordeal. I hope that the outcome today will allow everyone who has been affected to gain some kind of closure and help recover from this traumatic crime."