TWO robbers who were jailed for the brutal murder of a Colchester man have had their minimum jail terms reduced.

Graham Reeve, 55, was beaten, tied up and strangled at his flat in Charles Pell Road in July last year as his robbers tried to get him to tell them his bank card PIN.

In May, after being convicted of murder at Chelmsford Crown Court, Jon Richard Williams, 23, and Danny Howsego, 37, were jailed for at least 32 years each.

But, after an appeal by their lawyers, Lord Justice Thomas, Mr Justice Silber and Mrs Justice Sharp, sitting at London’s Court of Appeal, said the terms were too long and cut them to 29 years.

Lord Justice Thomas said the case was different from those in which victims were truly tortured by their attackers, wielding weapons, cutting off body parts and burning with cigarettes.

The pair, of Stanley Wooster Way, Colchester, had decided to rob their neighbour and accosted him as he returned to his home on the afternoon of July 4, last year.

Over several hours, they tried over and again to get Mr Reeve’s bank card PIN and to withdraw cash, but were unable to and instead bought groceries at shops.

But, having already inflicted injury and fearing detection for their crime, they then decided to kill their victim. He was strangled and his body dragged to a flat opposite, where it was later found by police.

At the Court of Appeal, the pair’s lawyers argued the judge was wrong to increase their minimum terms beyond the 30-year “starting point” for murders for gain.

Lord Justice Thomas said: “It is unfortunate that, in today’s society, these courts see what one might properly describe as torture, of the kind people would be more accustomed to seeing in the cinema or in history books.

“This is not that case. Although it is clear he was subjected, over a period of time, to a number of blows and was tied up, he was not tortured in the sense we have described.

“Secondly, it seems to us that, although it is true they must have sat down and planned to kill him to prevent detection, nonetheless this was not a premeditated murder in the sense of having been carefully planned ahead of time.”

Mr Reeve’s brother Brian said any sentence would never have been enough.

He added: “We will never forget Graham, but this just keeps bringing it all back. We expected them to appeal.

“I don’t wish to know anything about them, to be honest.”

Neither will be released after serving their minimum terms unless they can convince the Parole Board they are no longer a public danger.