Drug addicts jailed after charity shop volunteer stamped to death in 'brutal' Devon murder

Lee Chugg, 42, and Jodie Swannick, 32, both from Plymouth have been jailed Credit: Exeter Court Service

A pair of drug addicts from Plymouth who killed a vulnerable charity shop volunteer by stamping him to death in his own home have been sent to prison for a total of 38 years.

Lee Chugg, 42, and Jodie Swannick, 32, both from Plymouth, attacked Stephen Fogg who worked part time at the Red Cross shop in Plymstock.

The pair were jailed for life - Chugg must serve a minimum term of 20 years and Swannick 18 years for the murder.

The 60-year-old, who had learning difficulties and autism, needed regular support to enable him to live independently.

Chugg and Swannick had been drinking vodka and taking heroin before they went to his home in Hawthorn Drive, Wembury, in the hope of stealing alcohol or money in December 2020, just days before Christmas.

Forensic evidence showed they carried out a joint attack which left Swannick’s shoe print on Mr Fogg’s face and Chugg’s bloodstained trainer print on the victim’s Plymouth Argyle shirt.

The pair stood trial at Exeter Crown Court where a jury heard details of the brutal attack Credit: ITV West Country

The victim was left with the lower part of his face shattered and his chest caved in. Both went through the dying man’s pockets as he pleaded for help.

The defendants fled the scene without calling an ambulance and remained at large until police found them hiding out at a house in Plymouth eight days later.

The couple had inflicted horrific injuries on Mr Fogg and a pathologist testified that those to the head and those to the chest were sever enough to kill him on their own.

He had a fractured skull, multiple fractures of his face including the crushing of his upper and lower jaw, and fractures to 19 of his 24 ribs, eight of which were broken in more than one place.

Chugg, aged 42, of Knighton Road, Plymouth, and Swannick, aged 32, formerly of Stoke Road, Plymouth, but now of no fixed address, both denied murder but were found guilty by a jury at Exeter Crown Court.

On sentencing, Judge Peter Johnson described the attack as ‘brutal’, saying that both defendants had shown a ‘callous indifference’ as to whether Mr Fogg had died or not.

Chugg, he said, was "an extremely dangerous man and prone to violent outbursts when in drink."

"Each has shown a willingness to minimise their involvement, I am satisfied that there was an intention to kill by both defendants," he added.

Senior Investigating Officer Detective Inspector Ilona Rosson said: “Stephen was described by those who knew him as a kind and generous person who wanted to be friends with all. He was a vulnerable man and trusting of everyone.

“Chugg and Swannick took advantage of his vulnerabilities and on that night subjected him to a prolonged, brutal, and senseless attack.

"In the hours that followed neither demonstrated any remorse for their actions; instead they focused their intentions on distancing themselves from the scene of this horrendous crime, leaving Stephen’s body undiscovered until the days that followed.

"This has been a complex and protracted investigation consisting of a vast amount of material, CCTV and expert evidence which has drawn out lies from both Chugg and Swannick who attempted to blame each other for the events that night and explain away the evidence against them.

"Violence against anyone, especially the most vulnerable in our communities, is abhorrent and Devon and Cornwall Police will always do the utmost to identify and bring offenders to justice.

"My deepest condolences go to Stephen’s family and those who knew him. I hope that today’s sentence will bring comfort and closure for them.”