The mother of murdered soldier Narel Sharpe spoke of her disappointment yesterday at the sentence handed to one of his former schoolmates who helped cover up his killing.

Chervaun Whitehouse (22), from Smethwick, was jailed at Birmingham Crown Court for nine months for her part in assisting her then lover, Levi Walker, dispose of the gold chain he stole from Mr Sharpe after shooting him, and by giving the police a false witness statement.

A 16-year-old boy, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was sentenced to eight months at a youth detention centre for perverting the course of justice and for possession of a firearm after he helped dispose of the gun.

Gail Sharpe, Mr Sharpe's mother, said afterwards out-side the court: "I thought it would have been longer, because I believe they both knew exactly what they were doing.

"I don't feel it is long enough; but at least I know that Levi Walker is in prison for 30 years.

"I despise them for what they did, I really do. Chervaun and Narel were at school together, they were in the same class.

"She knew Narel very well and knew what sort of person he was. I was so proud of my son and it's really sad that she had played that part in covering up his killing having been in the same class as him."

Whitehouse, and the 16-year-old saw Walker at a party moments after he murdered Mr Sharpe, who had returned to the UK to celebrate his 21st birthday, on September 4, 2004. They were party to a discussion about the killing and the 16-year-old was then sent out to dispose of the chain and its gun.

The next day the gold chain was handed back to White-house, described as "one of many" of Walker's girlfriends, who passed it on to others before it was eventually pawned. Later in a police interview she said nothing to suggest she knew anything at all about Mr Sharpe's killing.

The pair were convicted of the crimes in February, alongside Walker, who was sentenced to a minimum of 30 years in prison.

The court heard how Whitehouse had been a grade A student who dreamed of becoming a lawyer but had fallen for Walker's charms.

The judge, Mr Justice MacKay, told her: "You were attracted, and would not have been the first woman to find yourself in this position, to a cheap gunman who got out of his league and committed a wicked murder, and you chose to back him.

"The fact is you did your best to thwart the interests of justice on this occasion. Luckily others had the courage to stand and be counted."

Speaking about the 16-year-old's role in the crime he said: "You chose to play with the big boys and look what happened. You were told to carry out the task (of disposing of the gun) and I think you were excited to do so."

After the sentences the pair smiled, in apparent relief they had not been longer. ..SUPL: