THE DEVASTATED parents of murdered former soldier Ian Smith have spoken of their relief after getting justice for their son.
Four men were found guilty of the murder of Mr Smith, 22, of Boycott Way, South Elmsall, at Leeds Crown Court on Friday.
His father, Ian, and mum, Vicki Lownes, said that getting the verdict was what they desperately needed.
Miss Lownes, who held her son’s rosary beads and held pictures of him throughout the trial, said: “We promised Ian that we would get justice and that is why we so badly needed the guilty verdicts for all of them.
“When we got home on Friday we just said: ‘We’ve done it, son’.
“But we can’t celebrate or feel good about it because we will never get what we want, and that is our Ian home.
“They have taken that away from us and they don’t even care. Not one of them said sorry or showed any remorse.”
Mr Smith said: “Those men are the scum of society and the verdict proved what we knew all along.
“It was Ian’s strength that has kept us going throughout it all, and if it wasn’t for that promise we made to Ian, I don’t know how we would have coped. That is all we had left.
“Now there is a big hole in our lives that will never be filled.”
Ian’s younger brothers, Jamie, 16, and Stephen, 19, attended the trial.
Miss Lownes said: “Ian thought the world of his brothers and they have found it really difficult to accept. He was the heart of our family and has been taken from us
“We don’t live now, we exist. There is no laughter. There is no future to look forward to any more. I can’t stand the thought of the rest of my life without ever seeing Ian again, not to see his smile or hear his laugh.”
But the trial has still left the family with unanswered questions, after the four defendants decided not to give evidence during the proceedings.
Mr Smith said: “We hoped they would take the stand to find out why they did what they did to our Ian, to find answers. But they didn’t and we still don’t know the real reason why.
“He had been having a good night with us that night. Why couldn’t they just leave him alone? Just left our son to come home to us where he belongs.”
Miss Lownes said: “We never said he was an angel but to say he went looking for trouble could not be further from the truth.”
Mr Smith said he could not bear to watch the CCTV footage of the attack in court for his own sanity, and said it was the support of the people around him that had got him through this difficult time.
He said: “I just want to say thank you to the support we have received from family and friends, and especially Dave Womack. We wouldn’t have got through this without them.”
Sentencing takes place tomorrow at Leeds Crown Court.