Builder jailed for life for murders of two escorts in East Sussex

Mark Brown will serve two life terms for the murders of Leah Ware (left) and Alexandra Morgan in East Sussex. Credit: Sussex Police

A builder who murdered two escorts and described himself as a "psychopath with a conscience" has been sentenced to two life terms in prison.

Mark Brown, 41, was sentenced to a minimum term of 49 years for the murders of escorts Leah Ware, 33, and Alexandra Morgan, 34, in 2021. He was found guilty last year.

Alex’s remains were discovered by police at a building site where Brown worked, but no trace has ever been found of Leah’s body.

Mr Justice Hilliard handed Brown two life sentences with a minimum term of 49 years, less 380 days already spent on remand, to be served concurrently for his "depraved" acts.

Mark Brown has now been sentenced to two life sentences with a minimum term of 49 years Credit: Kent Police/PA

Brown killed Ms Ware and Ms Morgan at a remote farm near St Leonards in East Sussex in May and November 2021, after meeting them through a sex work website.

Brown put Ms Morgan, 34, head first into a homemade incinerator before dumping her remains. The body of Ms Ware, 33, has never been found, but the prosecution believe Brown used a similar method, and also killed her Pomeranian dog, Lady.

The jury of 10 men and two women took 10 and a half hours to convict Brown of both murder charges on December 1.

Mark Brown being led from a prison van outside Hove Crown Court Credit: ITV Meridian

Detective Chief Inspector Andy Wolstenholme, of Sussex Police, said the force would speak to Brown as soon as possible after the verdict to try to persuade him to say what happened to Ms Ware's remains.

Brown met Ms Ware in 2018 when he hired her as an escort and they developed an "on again, off again" relationship. He killed her on or around May 7 last year after tensions grew when she pressed him to leave his partner of 14 years, the court was told.

In the six months between killing Ms Ware and Ms Morgan, Brown messaged a friend, calling himself a "psychopath with a conscience" and saying: "I'm going to be very careful how I word this - it happened again, not very long ago when disposing of something.

"It's a very unpleasant thing to do - an old oil drum, five litres of diesel, and hey presto, there's not very much left.

"It gets hot, very hot, it glows almost white.

"The things I have done weigh heavily on my heart, on my head and my soul. A psychopath with a conscience - it's a joke really."

The jury decided the message referred to Brown disposing of Ms Ware's remains.

Brown hired Ms Morgan for sex about a dozen times before offering her an escorting job worth £100,000 in October 2021.

But when she visited Little Bridge Farm, the site he rented, the next month, he killed her and burned her body in an incinerator.

He then dumped her remains in a skip at the building site where he worked in Sevenoaks, Kent.

Brown, of Squirrel Close in St Leonards-on-Sea, claimed Ms Morgan died in an accident at the farm after hitting her head when she slipped in his workshop. He said he burned her body "in a panic".

He told the jury he and Ms Ware broke up in early 2021 and, as far as he knows, she is still alive.

On 25 November, Mark Brown was arrested on suspicion of Ms Morgan's murder Credit: Kent Police

Libby Clark from the CPS said: "This is a shocking and heart-breaking case of the murder of two women - Alex Morgan and Leah Ware. Brown showed utter cruelty and contempt for his victims, and his actions have left two families devastated by their loss.

"By never accepting responsibility, Brown made the families go through the ordeal of a trial, where the work of our prosecution team unpicked Brown's deceit, including covering up Leah's death, resulting in his conviction.

"We know nothing can make up for the loss so keenly felt by both families, but hope today's sentence brings some comfort, as our thoughts remain with them."

Kate Brown, Chief Crown Prosecutor for CPS South East, added: "Violence against women and girls is a blight on our society, and one the CPS is determined to eradicate.

"All women have the right to be safe and to live their lives without fear of violence.

"Our commitment to bringing perpetrators to justice is unwavering, as we continue to work alongside our criminal justice partners to tackle these horrific crimes."

The judge said: “Leah Ware’s personal life had been difficult before she took up with the defendant – she was addicted to drugs and had a number of mental health issues.

“The defendant knew all this. Leah was particularly vulnerable, which makes the offence more serious because it represents betrayal of the trust and security which she should expect between people in intimate relationships.

“In the period leading up to the murder, Brown used Leah to satisfy his own sexual desires.

CCTV caught the moment that Alexandra Morgan’s Mini arrived at Little Bridge Farm Credit: Kent Police/PA

“I can’t say how the defendant murdered Leah Ware – part of the purpose of obliterating her remains was to hide how she came about her death.

“Contact with Alexandra Morgan began in May 2021. He was pretending to himself he was in a relationship with her in which payment for sex wasn’t a factor, when it very much was.

“In October he offered her a job where she could earn over £100,000 and she was going to take part in a scheme of some kind.

“She came to Little Bridge Farm as Mark Brown pretended it was the start of the money-making scheme. He claimed to have the inside scoop.

“She was extremely vulnerable because she was on her own at the isolated farm, beyond help.

“Alex must have been in the container in the barn and Brown engaged in violent sexual activity with her against her will as he had planned. This explained the condoms with his semen and her DNA in the barn which he forgot to get rid of.

“He successfully disposed of Leah Ware’s body – exactly what happened will never be known but he intended for Alex Morgan to never leave Little Bridge Farm alive.

“No sentence I pass is any measure of the lives that have been lost. No sentence can put right what the defendant has done – that’s not possible.

“Brown hasn’t attended court today which shows his conscience is untroubled by what he has done.”

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