Three jailed for Brighton murder

The jury have returned with guilty verdicts in the trial of two men accused of murdering a homeless man in Sussex.

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VIDEO: Family of homeless man speak of 'brutal murder'

Two men have been found guilty of murdering a homeless man in Brighton, and a woman guilty of conspiracy to murder.

The body of Lea Williams was discovered on Hove seafront, where he'd been sleeping rough, in February. CCTV footage shows his attackers, after the murder, buying drinks to celebrate.

Andy Dickenson reports from Lewes Crown Court and speaks to Mr Williams' stepfather Colin Bray, daughter Kaylea Williams, and Det Ch Insp Ian Pollard.

Murder carried out in return for 'sexual favours'

It is clear from evidence that Lauren Bishop instigated the attack on Lea Williams and sent Clarke and Phillips to carry it out. The reward for Phillips for carrying out her instructions was sexual favours, which he received later that evening. Phillips claimed to be a good friend to Lea, however the offer of sexual favours from Bishop meant more to him than that friendship as he took part in this brutal attack and tried to blame Clarke.

Clarke claimed he had suffered blackouts and had no memory of what had happened but so compelling was the evidence, he has also been found guilty of murder."

– Detective Chief Inspector Ian Pollard, Sussex Police

Homeless man was struck 20 - 30 times

Two men and a woman have been found guilty of the murder of a homeless man. Lea Williams was an alcoholic and his home for the last year was an archway under the promenade in Hove, that looked onto the pitch and putt course.

The court heard that Lauren Bishop had confronted Mr Williams after he swore at another person while drinking with a number of homeless friends, including Michael Clark and Edward Phillips, near Portland Road, Hove, in February. She then threatened him that it wasn't over yet.

Clark and Phillips then committed the murder "at the behest or request" of Bishop. Williams was struck 20 to 30 times possibly with a metal railing he kept for protection.


Two men and a woman found guilty of murder

Michael John Clark, Edward Phillips Credit: Sussex Police

Two men and a woman have today (Friday, November 1) been found guilty of the murder of homeless man Lea Williams in Hove in February this year.

After a five-week trial at Lewes Crown Court, a jury found jobless Michael John Clark, 51, of Trafalgar Street, Brighton, and Edward Phillips, 49, also unemployed with links to Brighton, guilty of murdering Lea Williams.

Lauren Bishop Credit: Sussex Police

Lauren Bishop, 36, of Eastbourne Road, Seaford, was also found guilty of conspiracy to murder Lea Williams. They will be sentenced on Monday, November 4.

Two men deny murdering Lea Williams

Lea Williams' body was found on Hove seafront in February this year

The defence and prosecution are summing up in the trial of two men accused of murdering a homeless man in Sussex.

The body of Lea Williams was discovered on Hove seafront where he had been sleeping rough.

The 45-year-old died from severe injuries to his head and face.

The two men deny murder.

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