Clacton: ‘Justice’ as two guilty of killing

THE family of murder victim Oli Smith-Daye believes “justice has been done” after two people were found guilty of killing him on New Year’s Day.

The 29-year-old was found unconscious in Trimley Close, Clacton, and died later that day at Colchester General Hospital.

Elisha Francois, 21, Charlie Jacobs, 23, both from Trimley Close, and Alan Didier, 42, from east London, were arrested and charged with his murder.

Following a three-week trial at Chelmsford Crown Court, Jacobs was found guilty of murder and Francois guilty of manslaughter yesterday.

Didier was found not guilty of any charge and released.

In a statement, Mr Smith-Daye’s family said: “We came here to seek justice and we feel that justice has been done as Charlie Jacobs and his girlfriend, Elisha Francois, have been justly found guilty of killing Oli.

“Whatever the result may have been, it would never have been a victory in our eyes as we have lost a son and brother who can never be replaced and all we asked for was justice.”

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During the trial, the court heard Mr Smith-Daye had been at a party next-door to Francois and Jacobs’ house. After realising he had forgotten his keys, he returned, knocking on the door and calling to his friend through the letter box, which prompted the pair’s attack.

A post-mortem examination revealed he died from bleeding over the brain caused by blows or kicks to the upper neck.

Mr Smith-Daye was a registered organ donor and was able to save the lives of two people and improve the lives of four others.

The family added: “The man who received Oli’s heart is doing, in his own words, ‘perfect’, seven months on.

“It is of some comfort on these dark days to know that Oliver’s wish to help others lead a more normal life after his passing has been granted.”

He was described as a “bubbly, happy, outgoing young man who always put others first”.

His family said: “No-one deserves to be murdered and definitely no-one deserves to have their life taken away in such a horrendous, brutal and malicious manner, depriving a family of an opportunity to say their final goodbyes.

“The last seven months have been a nightmare for us all. Something unbelievable happened so suddenly.

“Now we have to accept that someone we loved is no longer with us.”

Jacobs has been remanded in custody and Francois has been remanded on court bail while awaiting sentencing at Chelmsford Crown Court during the week commencing September 3.

Senior investigating officer DCI Mark Hall said: “Oliver had spent New Year’s Eve with friends, having nothing else on his mind other than to enjoy a few drinks, share some laughs and look forward to 2012.

“It was his misfortune that his path should cross with Charlie Jacobs and Elisha Francois.

“These two individuals, both of whom had a history of violent offending, had spent the evening drinking alcohol and taking cocaine.

“Charlie Jacobs was, at the time, in breach of a prison licence, having only recently been released from custody.

“A trivial encounter resulted in a wholly unnecessary, ferocious and cowardly attack by these two defendants, who together viciously punched and kicked Oliver, before leaving him for dead.”

DCI Hall also paid tribute to Mr Smith-Daye’s family for their “integrity and dignity” throughout the trial.

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