Three men who murdered a ‘defenceless’ victim on the doorstep of a family home have been jailed for life.

Reece Heffernan died aged 22 after he was attacked and stabbed in Romany Lane, Tilehurst on October 31, 2021.

The three men who were responsible the brutal killing on Halloween were jailed at Reading Crown Court today (Monday) after all three were found guilty of murder.

  • Carlos Fonseca, 24, of Fawn Drive, Reading - Life sentence with 27-year minimum term
  • Tuviah Thompson Hordle, 18, of Brant Close, Wokingham - Life sentence with 24-year minimum term
  • Charles Lynch, 18, from Earley - Life sentence with 20-year minimum term

Reading Chronicle: Charles Lynch - Thames Valley PoliceCharles Lynch - Thames Valley Police (Image: Thames Valley Police)

At the sentencing hearing, a statement from the victim’s mother, Sheila Heffernan, was read to the court by prosecutor Stuart Trimmer KC.

She said: “My first son was murdered, and my world was changed forever.

“This investigation has opened up so many wounds. I have had to watch and listen to Reece’s killers deny any wrongdoing.

“I’ll never get to see him again because he was in the wrong place at the wrong time. The people standing trial decided that his life was not worth living.”

A statement from Mr Heffernan’s father, Nicholas Walker, added: “Not only have you put a knife through Reece’s heart, you put a knife through my family’s and mine.”

On October 31, 2021, at around 10.30pm, Fonseca, Thompson Hordle and Lynch were driving in an MG along Romany Lane. They were seen driving back and forth along the road three times that night.

On the fourth time, the car stopped and both Thompson Hordle and Lynch got out, wearing masks and armed with knives.

They approached Mr Heffernan, who was in the front garden of a house, and attacked him. He suffered fatal injuries in the attack and tragically died on the scene.

Following the attack, the two assailants got back in the car, which was being driven by Fonseca. He took them to Woodley, where they met two other men and started disposing of their clothes, weapons, phones, and even the vehicle.

Sentencing Thompson Hordle and Lynch, Judge Heather Norton said: “Both of you were armed with knives.

“The two of you immediately launched an attack on Reece Heffernan as he desperately tried to get into the house and to safety.

“It was a targeted assault on a young, defenceless man on the doorstep of a family home.”

Turning to Fonseca, she added: “You were one of the lead organisers. You obtained the car and drove the car. You were in control at all times.”

The killers had all denied the murder charge but were found guilty by a jury following a trial in August.

All three men were also sentenced for charges of conspiracy to pervert the course of justice and conspiracy to supply Class B drugs.

Fonseca, a former student at Reading College, received 24 months for conspiracy to pervert the course of justice and 18 months for the drug charge.

Thompson Hordle was given 32 months for perverting the course of justice and 18 months for the drug charge.

Lynch was given a 12-month sentence for perverting the course of justice and nine months for the drug charge.

These additional sentences will run concurrently with their life sentences.