Thomas Haigh shot two gangland enforcers after they told him to go to Brazil for second time to bring back cocaine
A former cage fighter has been jailed for life for killing two gangland enforcers linked to an IRA drugs ring.
Thomas Haigh, 26, must serve a minimum of 35 years for shooting David Griffiths and Brett Flournoy on a remote Cornish farm in June last year.
Ross Stone, 28, who was cleared of murder, will serve five years after admitting burning the men's bodies and burying them after the shooting at his home, Sunny Corner farm, in Trenance Downs near St Austell.
The bodies of Flournoy, 31, from the Wirral, and Griffiths, 35, from Bracknell, Berkshire, were unearthed after Stone confessed to having disposed of the corpses.
The four-week trial heard that the victims worked for an IRA gang that ran Liverpool's illegal drugs trade. They had demanded Haigh go to Brazil for a second time to bring back cocaine. Both Haigh and Stone owed the dead men about ?40,000 in drug debts.
Passing sentence at Truro crown court, Mr Justice Mackay told Haigh he was an arrogant young man who had got out of his depth in the criminal underworld.
"These were bad men but they were bad men with the right not to be killed because trading in drugs does not carry the death penalty," he said.
"You were attracted to the gangster way of life, you convinced yourself you were a big boy playing in the big league. But I found your erratic behaviour made you unsuited to this elusive trade. This was no more than a result of your chosen lifestyle. You knew the rules of the criminal club you joined and you broke them."
The jury took less than three hours to find Haigh, formerly of Huddersfield, West Yorkshire, guilty of two counts of murder. Stone had previously pleaded guilty to two charges of obstructing a coroner.
Haigh, who served nine months in a young offenders' institution in 2005 and 2006 for dealing in heroin and crack cocaine, was on the run at the time of the shooting.
While living in Workington the previous March he had skipped a court appearance in Carlisle for possession of an air gun because he was in Brazil smuggling cocaine back to the UK.
The judge said the pressure he was under from Griffiths and his "role model" Flournoy was no mitigation for the crimes he had committed.
"You shot these men dead, acting alone and not in concert with Stone," Mr Justice Mackay said. "You left him to cover up the carnage you left behind you. Why you did this is, to my mind, perfectly clear. How you went about it is less clear. But you aimed and fired the shots that killed these two men."
The trial heard that after Haigh killed the two men he fled to Yorkshire before eventually handing himself in to police.