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Robert and Jonathan MASKELL


Classification: Murderers
Characteristics: Robbery
Number of victims: 1
Date of murder: January 28, 2005
Date of birth: January 28, 1987
Victim profile: Anjelica Hallwood, 74 (their step-grandmother)
Method of murder: Suffocation
Location: Edmonton, North London, England, United Kingdom
Status: Sentenced to 9 years in prison on February 2, 2006

Twins jailed for killing and robbing step-grandmother

By Paul Lewis -

February 3, 2006

Twin brothers were yesterday sentenced to nine years in jail for killing their step-grandmother on their 18th birthday. Robert and Jonathan Maskell and their 19-year-old friend Dwane Johnston, all from Edmonton, north London, were convicted of robbery and the manslaughter of 74-year-old Anjelica Hallwood last month, but cleared of murder.

They killed the frail pensioner, whom the twins called Nana, as they ransacked her home searching for her savings.

Sentencing the three at the Old Bailey to nine years for manslaughter and a further seven years for robbery, Judge Gerald Gordon said their "thuggery" had brought devastation to Mrs Hallwood's family. Their sentences will be served concurrently in a young offenders' institute, and all three must serve an extended license period of three years after their release.

During the trial, the court heard how the twins excused themselves from their birthday party in January last year, suspecting that Mrs Hallwood had up to 3,000 hidden in her house.

The three broke into Mrs Hallwood's home, where Johnston was staying after leaving prison the previous day, and stole more than 1,000. During the raid, Johnston hit Mrs Hallwood, who was just 4ft 10in, in the face, and put pressure on her throat as he pinned her to the ground. Before returning to the party, the Maskells spent some of the stolen cash on a mobile top-up card and a kebab. The pensioner's body was discovered the next day.

Although the Maskells were not blood relatives, she had treated the twins as her grandsons and given their friend, Johnston, a home when no one else would. Robert and Jonathan were the sons of the former wife of Mrs Hallwood's son Peter.

The judge said: "For reasons of pure greed you set out to rob her. You could so easily have arranged to steal while she was out and safe. It is difficult to imagine a more despicable crime."

Detective Sergeant Derek Cameron said after the case: "The twins visited her regularly when they were children and lived nearby as extended family. She showed them nothing but kindness."

The Maskells had been friends with Johnston - their half-sister's boyfriend - since they all attended a school for children with learning difficulties. The twins, who were unemployed, are said to have lived a fantasy life in internet chatrooms. In court, the Maskell brothers and Johnston tried to blame the killing on each other.


Twins convicted of killing their grandmother

January 9, 2006

Twin brothers who sneaked out of their 18th birthday party to rob their grandmother were convicted today of her manslaughter.

Jonathan and Robert Maskell broke into the home of 74-year-old widow Anjelica Hallwood with their sister's boyfriend, Dwane Johnston. Her body was found the following day. She had been beaten and strangled, the Old Bailey was told.

The brothers and Johnston, 19, all from Edmonton, north London, were cleared of murder but found guilty of manslaughter. The twins were found guilty of robbery, an offence to which Johnston had already pleaded guilty.

Judge Gerald Gordon remanded the three in custody for sentencing on January 31.

The court was told the youths thought the pensioner, known as Nana to all of them, had up to 3,000 stashed at her home. They broke in and the twins found just over 1,000, while Johnston hit Mrs Hallwood in the face and put pressure on her throat as he pinned her to the ground.

After leaving, they bought a mobile top-up card and a kebab before returning to the party in January 2004.

"Jonathan Maskell asked his mother whether they could leave the party to meet Johnston to get a birthday card from him. The party continued in their absence," Anthony Leonard QC, prosecuting, said. The three then went to Mrs Hallwood's home, where Johnston had been staying since leaving prison the previous day after serving a sentence for driving offences. They ransacked the house to find money and in the struggle killed the pensioner, Mr Leonard said.

The next morning Mrs Hallwood's daughter, Joan, was unable to get into her mother's house.

Johnston arrived and was able to slip the security chain to gain access. They found the house in turmoil and, after being asked to check the grandmother's bedroom, Johnston told Ms Hallwood he thought her mother was dead, Mr Leonard said.

In court, the Maskells and Johnston tried to blame the killing on each other. Robert and Jonathan were the sons of the former wife of Mrs Hallwood's son, Peter.

Although the Maskells were not blood relatives, they had been treated as grandsons and shown nothing but kindness by Mrs Hallwood.

The Maskells had been friends with Johnston since they were 14 when they all attended a school for children with learning difficulties. The twins had been suspected when 800 was stolen from Mrs Hallwood on a previous occasion, but the family dealt with it themselves rather than contact police.

Outside the court this afternoon, Peter Hallwood said he felt a mixture of emotions ranging "from depression and sadness to extreme anger".

"I am struggling to cope with the knowledge that the twins and Johnston were capable of doing this," he said. "They are the lowest of the low, cold and callous, and I can't believe they would bite the hand that feeds them.


The Maskell Twins: Britain's Dumbest Killers

By Peter Stubley

Geek twins Robert and Jonathan Maskell appeared more likely to harm themselves than their frail old grandmother.

The brothers, who had learning difficulties and few friends, were already outcasts and failures by the age of 18.

They spent most of their days on the internet, desperately trying to impress underage girls on MSN messenger with their deranged Gothic fantasies.

But in January 2005 the brothers began bragging to two 15 year-old girls they had killed their gran for her 1,000 life savings.

Robert's 'girlfriend' Siobhan Henderson, who had once planned to run away from home in Darlington, County Durham, to meet him, at first thought it was just a sick joke.

She later told police: ''Robert said he had killed his grandmother, beaten her up and hit her with a hammer.

'Jonathan also said it as well. I thought they were lying because they were like bragging. I didn't believe it. He said: ''We have killed her.'''

Her friend Hayley Rance, who had phone sex with the other twin Jonathan, recalled: 'He told me they had killed their nana. He also said he had cancer and he was going to hang himself.'
But this time their boasts were true.

Flesh and blood

Victim Anjelica Hallwood, 74, was not the twins biological grandmother, but had adopted the pair as her own flesh and blood and shown them only kindness.

Originally from Malta, she was just 4ft 10ins tall and lived on the ground floor of her home at [23] Granville Avenue, Edmonton, because she was too weak to climb the stairs.

The brothers had discovered she hoarded money in her bedroom and stole around 800 from her the previous year.

They were also incapable of finding work and had been sacked from their last job at Paradise Park Zoo in Broxbourne, Herts, for crashing a jeep.

By January 27, 2005, the day before their 18th birthday, they were seriously short of cash and were determined to celebrate in style.

In desperation, they turned to their friend Dwane Johnston, a classmate from Enfield Tuition College who had just that morning been released from prison after serving a short sentence for disqualified driving.

Together they came up with a plan to raid Ms Hallwood's home on the night of their birthday party.

Slipping away from the family bash in Chalfont Road just before midnight, the twins met up with Johnston and crept into the house in darkness.

Minutes later neighbours heard loud bangs coming from the property.

'She had money in the wardrobe'

According to the Johnston's later confession, the brothers pulled out bags of cash from her wardrobe and drawers as Johnston punched the pensioner in the face.
Johnston also forced his forearm into her neck, suffocating her as she lay on the floor.

The teenagers then fled, dumping Mrs Hallwood's treasured photographs in a nearby alleyway.

Even though they had left their grandmother for dead, the twins tried to buy 40 in mobile phone top-up cards on their way home.

They left empty handed when the shopkeeper told them some of the cash was no longer legal tender.

So the twins rounded off their birthday celebrations with a kebab before returning to the party as if nothing had happened.

The next morning the victim's daughter Joan Hallwood went to the victim's house but could not get any answer at the front door.

Johnston posed as a Good Samaritan and slipped the security chain to allow Ms Hallwood in to find her mother lying dead on the floor of her bedroom.

Drawers were spilled, the wardrobe had been smashed open and clothes and blankets had been strewn over the corpse.

Laughing and joking

A postmortem later revealed Anjelica Hallwood had been punched so hard that the bones in her face had been smashed.

The brothers feigned horror at the shocking news - but within an hour were out shopping with their some of their loot.

Jonathan bought a mobile phone for 170, only to be mugged by a group of hoodies on his return to Edmonton.

Unperturbed, he simply went home to collect more of the stolen cash and bought another.

Chilling CCTV footage at the shop showed the brothers laughing and joking as they spent their dead grandmother's money.

Johnston was at first treated as a witness, but his story began to unravel and he was soon telling officers the robbery was orchestrated by the Maskell twins.

He revealed: 'Jonathan was going on about robbing her 'cos she had money in the wardrobe.'

A search of the house revealed the brothers had left their fingerprints on a coffee jar and a boot print on an envelope during the raid.

The twins did not give evidence during the Old Bailey trial and denied any involvement in the killing.

Although the teenagers were cleared of murder they were all convicted of manslaughter and robbery.


Judge Gerald Gordon jailed them for nine years each, adding: 'It is difficult to imagine a more despicable crime.

'For reasons of pure greed and regardless of the effect upon here you set out to rob her.

'You could so easily have arranged to steal while she was out and safe but not a bit of it.

'Even though you knew that in order to rob she would have to be restrained to enable you to carry out your ransacking of what little remained to her, that is what you chose to do.

'The fact that this thuggery was mindless is no consolation to Mrs Hallwood or her immediately family, who have been devastated by what has happened.'

The last thing the twins heard as they walked down to the cells was Mrs Hallwood's son shouting: 'Bye, scumbags'.


Robert and Jonathan Maskell


Robert and Jonathan Maskell


Dwane Johnston



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