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Dad slams near £400,000 legal aid bill racked up by son Alfie's murderers

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A DISTRAUGHT dad has blasted the near £400k legal aid bill racked up by his toddler’s murderers as a “kick in the teeth”.

Bereaved Sam Phillips watched as ex Sian Hedges and her former partner Jack Benham were jailed for life over the death of 18-month-old Alfie.

Alfie's' dad has slammed the near £400,000 legal bill racked up by his son's murderers

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Alfie’s’ dad has slammed the near £400,000 legal bill racked up by his son’s murderersCredit: PA
Sian Hedges and former partner Jack Benham were both convicted of the murder of Alfie

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Sian Hedges and former partner Jack Benham were both convicted of the murder of AlfieCredit: PA

The Sun can now reveal the evil pair received legal representation costing the taxpayer £377,423 ahead of their January sentencing.

Grieving Mr Phillips, 39, speaking with his fiancé Sarah Merritt, said: “Obviously it’s a lot of money. Lawyer fees are not cheap anyway but this is still a lot.

“They both knew what they did and could have pleaded guilty. They were the only ones in that caravan.

“Our family would have been saved a lot of hurt and pain not having to listen to the details of what happened.

“They were on bail for three years before they were charged. They had time to tell the truth and they didn’t and then the taxpayer picked up the bill.

“It’s a kick in the teeth.”

Benham, 35, received £167,957 worth of legal assistance while Alfie’s mum Hedges, 27, racked up a bill of £209,466.

The former couple were found guilty of murdering the vulnerable tot on November 30 last year following a seven-week trial at Maidstone Crown Court, Kent.

It came three years after he was found unresponsive with more than 70 bruises, marks and injuries sustained over weeks of abuse at Benham’s caravan in Faversham, Kent.

Traces of cocaine were found in innocent Alfie’s body – and his murderers both admitted taking the Class A drug and drinking whisky during the night of “violent discipline”.

Sentencing, judge Mr Justice Cavanagh said: “These injuries were the result of what can only be described as a frenzied attack.

“It is impossible to be sure how long the attack lasted, but, given the number of different injuries that were inflicted on Alfie, it must have lasted a considerable time.”

Defendants facing a crown court trial or appearing before magistrates are entitled to claim legal aid for their defence depending on their income and assets.

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