Clacton killer couple handed life sentences for Boxing Day murder
- Credit: ESSEX POLICE
A couple who murdered a man and set fire to his home have been jailed for a minimum of 46 years.
Seth Stollery and Freya Parker-Magowan attacked Paul Gillett, 54, in his Station Road flat in Clacton on Boxing Day last year.
The pair had returned to Mr Gillett's home around midnight on Christmas Day to collect the belongings of Parker-Magowan, who had been staying with Mr Gillett following the break-up of her relationship with Stollery.
Stollery, 48, and Parker-Magowan, 43, both of no fixed address, left the flat several hours later after setting it on fire - in an attempt to cover up the murder.
Mr Gillett's body was found in the bath by firefighters on Boxing Day morning.
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A post-mortem examination found he had died from head trauma, after suffering multiple injuries including defensive wounds.
Detectives later established Stollery had been told earlier in the evening that Mr Gillett and Parker-Magowan had engaged in a brief relationship during her time at the flat.
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During the trial at Chelmsford Crown Court, both admitted to being present in the flat at the time of his death, but blamed each other - claiming the assault was over an iPad claimed to have been stolen and sold on.
The jury took less than two hours to find the pair guilty on Tuesday, July 9.
At the same court on Monday, August 5, the pair were each jailed for life with a minimum of 23 years.
In a statement, Mr Gillett's family thanked the judge, jury and witnesses. They added: "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."
Detective Chief Inspector Stuart Truss said: "Paul Gillett 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."