Jail for ‘devious’ offender who tried to frame innocent man over terror attack

A man who tried to frame his landlady’s partner for inciting the terrorist murder of Pc Keith Palmer in revenge over a faulty boiler has been jailed for more than three years.

Thursday, 20th May 2021, 4:12 pm
Updated Thursday, 20th May 2021, 4:12 pm

Gerald Banyard, 67, sent two packages to police in the aftermath of the March 22 2017 Westminster attack suggesting Ian Anderson-Boles had links with Khalid Masood.

Masood, 52, ploughed into pedestrians on Westminster Bridge, killing four, before smashing into railings outside the Palace of Westminster, where he was shot dead by police after stabbing to death unarmed Pc Palmer, 48.

Eight days after the attack, Banyard sent a package to Brighton police station which claimed to be from an American tourist called Kevin who had found a suspicious note in his hotel room.

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Gerald Banyard, 67, who has been sentenced to three years and two months in jail

The note read: “Khalid, stick a cop for the old days”, signed “Ian” and included Mr Anderson-Boles’ mobile phone number.

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“Khalid Masood met a guy called Ian from Eastbourne.

“When in Brighton they were friends for years,” said the letter, which contained the phone numbers of Anderson-Boles and his partner Deborah Morley.

Southwark Crown Court heard police resources were diverted from investigating the Westminster attack with some 260 police man hours spent probing Banyard’s false claims.

Banyard, of Whalley, Lancashire, claimed he did not send the packages and was himself framed by an actor now living in the US, who he had gone to drama school with.

But he failed to attend court on the last day of his trial earlier this month when he was found guilty of two counts of perverting the course of justice.

Banyard was arrested this week in a hotel in Glasgow with more than £50,000 in cash and 8,350 US dollars after police launched a manhunt.

Judge Christopher Hehir jailed Banyard, who admitted a breach of bail offence, to a total of three years and two months in jail on Thursday.

“You are a truly devious and manipulative man,” he said.

“Your conduct involved baseless allegations of complicity in an act of mass murder, which is what the Westminster attack was.

“You sought to suggest Ian Anderson-Boles had incited Khalid Masood to murder Pc Keith Palmer, the brave police officer killed as a result of the attack.

“It is difficult to imagine a more vile imputation.”

The court heard Banyard had lived in a flat with his now late father in Eastbourne, in a block owned by his victim’s partner, when a dispute over a faulty boiler escalated, culminating in Mr Anderson-Boles kicking the front door in.

“You wanted revenge on Ian Anderson-Boles and you were quite determined to serve it cold,” the judge told Banyard.

“I am quite sure you were out to ruin his life completely if you possibly could.

“It was not for want of trying that you did not succeed in that.”

The judge also slapped Banyard with an indefinite restraining order preventing him from contacting Mr Anderson-Boles or his partner, as well as police officers involved in the investigation.

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