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Couple who murdered a man in Clacton and set fire to his house have been jailed

Freya Parker-Magowan and Seth Stollery Photo: Essex Police

A couple who killed a man in his home during what police have called a 'brutal' attack and then set his flat on fire to cover it up have been jailed for a total of at least 46 years.

Seth Stollery and Freya Parker-Magowan attacked 54 year-old Paul Gillett in his flat in Station Road in the early hours of Boxing Day last year.

Parker-Magowan, 43, of no fixed address, had been staying with Mr Gillett following the break-up of her relationship with 48 year-old Stollery.

However, the pair had reconciled and went to Mr Gillett’s home at around midnight on Christmas Day to pick up Parker-Magowan’s belongings.

When they left several hours later, Mr Gillett was dead in his bath and the couple had set fires in the flat in an attempt to cover up the murder.

He was found by firefighters who had been called there at around 7am on Boxing Day.

He had sustained multiple injuries, including defensive wounds, and a post-mortem examination found he had died from head trauma.

Through their investigations, detectives established that, earlier in the evening, Stollery had been told Mr Gillet and Parker-Magowan had engaged in a brief relationship while she was staying at the flat.

During their trial at Chelmsford Crown Court Stollery, also of no fixed address, and Parker-Magowan admitted they were the only people in the flat at the time but blamed each other, claiming the assault on Mr Gillett was over an iPad they claimed he had stolen and then sold.

They were both charged with murder and arson.

Parker-Magowan denied both charges while Stollery admitted arson but denied murder.

On 9 July, a jury took less than two hours to find them both guilty.

At the same court today (Monday 5 August) Stollery and Parker-Magowan were each jailed for life with a minimum of 23 years.

In a statement Mr Gillett’s family said:

Paul Gillett Credit: Essex Police

Paul is someone's son, our brother, father.

We are all devastated by his murder and it's hard to come to terms with the fact he was murdered for his kindness to that female.

This is how her and her partner says thank you by committing this barbaric and cruel murder and then to set fire to his place without any due care for anybody else living in his building.

We would like to say a huge thank you to the police for bringing these two murderers to justice and for their support through this trial.

We would like to thank the jury for their verdict. And of course the judge .We would like to thank everyone from the witness volunteers for their support throughout and all our friends as well. RIP Paul we will love you always, today justice is served.”

– A statement from Paul Gillett's family
A police cordon in Station Road, Clacton on Boxing Day Credit: ITV Anglia

Detective Chief Inspector Stuart Truss, from the Kent and Essex Serious Crime Directorate, said:

“Paul Gillet was subjected to a sustained and brutal assault in his own home. “Seth Stollery and Freya Parker-Magowan worked together to kill him, leave his body in the bath and set fire to his home to try and cover up what they’d done. “Neither have shown any remorse from what they’ve done and instead of admitting their crime, they turned on each other. “I want to pay tribute to the uniform officers who attended the scene first. Their quick work meant we were able to locate a key witness which led to important evidence being secured and both Stollery and Parker-Magowan being identified, found, and arrested. “Mr Gillet was a quiet man who was liked within the flats where he lived. Stollery and Parker-Magowan took advantage of his nature and will now spend the foreseeable future in prison for their actions. “I hope these sentences will help bring some closure for Mr Gillett’s family.”

– Detective Chief Inspector Stuart Truss