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