St Albans murderer who spent 23 years on the run sentenced to life in prison

PUBLISHED: 14:52 31 January 2018 | UPDATED: 09:37 01 February 2018

Justin Clarke. Picture: Herts police

Justin Clarke. Picture: Herts police


A murderer wanted by police for 23 years has been given a life prison sentence today.

Paul Milburn. Picture: Herts policePaul Milburn. Picture: Herts police

Justin Clarke, 62, from Surrey, shot Paul Milburn dead with an automatic pistol in 1993 during a bogus drug deal which went wrong on Noke Lane, St Albans.

He had been trying to convince Mr Milburn, who was 43 at the time, to hand over £1,000s for blocks of wax made to look like cannabis resin - when the deal was about to be completed, Clarke sprung out from a hiding place in some bushes and made the deadly shot.

Clarke, who is also known as Martin Anthony Maher, then fled to Germany but was found 23 years later in Berlin by the Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire Major Crime Unit.

He was arrested in February 2016 under a European Arrest Warrant and extradited back to the UK in September of the same year.

Clake, who was found guilty yesterday of murder, conspiracy to defraud and conspiracy to supply a controlled drug (Class B), refused to be present at Woolwich Crown Court or have anyone represent him legally in the trial.

Investigation leader Det Insp Justine Jenkins said: “Paul Milburn was defenceless, he didn’t have any weapon and as he attempted to flee the scene he was chased and shot at point blank range before his killer Justin Clarke went on the run to escape justice. This case proves how we will never give up on seeking justice for victims’ families no matter how long ago the offence occurred.

“Not only did Justin Clarke do everything in his power to escape being arrested he has subsequently refused to engage in the court process.

“I am pleased he has now been sentenced for this horrendous crime and I hope this brings some form of comfort to Paul’s family, although it will never bring him back.”

Paul Milburn’s family have released a statement: “As a family we are pleased with the verdict. We never thought that Justin Clarke would ever face a trial for what he did to Paul. The many years that he has avoided the police have been a constant reminder of Paul’s death. We have been at court listening throughout the trial and we now have many questions that were unanswered, answered.

“We would like to thank the police for the hard work and efforts put in over the years. The determination to locate and arrest Justin Clarke has been very impressive and we are very grateful. The result provides justice for our family.”

Clarke will serve a minimum of 25 years in prison.

Senior crown prosecutor for Thames and Chiltern Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) James Cable also commented on the sentencing: “Clarke evaded justice for almost 25 years and failed to engage in his trial.

“However, scientific evidence including ammunition comparison, glass fragments, fingerprints, and bloodstaining, coupled with advances in DNA profiling concluded that Clarke had been at the scene and was the man responsible for the fatal shooting in St Albans in 1993.”

He said it was due to the perseverance, hard work and dedication “demonstrates to people who commit such offences that they are never safe from justice and that our determination to ensure that justice is done remains undimmed, even years after offences are committed”.

Adding: “Our thoughts remain with Mr Milburn’s family and friends at this time.”

More news stories


A replacement time capsule has been buried in the same spot where a 19th century version was discovered last year.

Astronomers from the University of Hertfordshire have confirmed the existence of a frozen planet orbiting the fastest star in the sky.

Was the Cedar Court chasm in St Albans caused by an old chalk mine, or an abandoned air raid shelter?


Entry to a St Albans primary may be slashed in half despite worries about a school places shortage around the district.


Recently we, as a family (minus two of the kids), visited The Lodge RSPB reserve in Sandy, Bedfordshire. I had never been before, which is perhaps amiss of me as a birdwatcher as it is the headquarters of the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds or RSPB and only 45 minutes drive from home.

Digital Edition

Read the The Herts Advertiser e-edition E-edition
Zoo Watch CountryPhile

Newsletter Sign Up

Herts Advertiser weekly newsletter
Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

Most read stories

Show Job Lists

Herts Most Wanted Herts Business Awards