Seaford woman jailed for conspiracy to murder Brighton homeless man

From left Clarke, Philips and Bishop
From left Clarke, Philips and Bishop

A woman from Seaford who instigated an attack against a homeless man has been jailed.

Lauren Bishop, 36, of Eastbourne Road, was found guilty of conspiracy to murder Lea Williams in Hove during February and sentenced to 15 years on Monday November 4.

After a five-week trial at Lewes Crown Court, a jury on Friday (November 1) found jobless Michael John Clark, 51, of Trafalgar Street, Brighton, and Edward Phillips, 49, also unemployed with links to Brighton, guilty of murdering Lea Williams.

Clark and Phillips were each sentenced to life with a minimum of 16 years each.

The trial heard that the body of Mr Williams, aged 45, was discovered by local project workers in an archway, also known as the ‘bat caves’, that overlook Hove pitch and putt green on the seafront, on Monday, February 11.

A post mortem examination revealed he died from severe injuries to his face and head caused by a heavy object.

Other injuries to his body included multiple fractures to his ribs.

Mr Williams, formerly from Hastings, was an alcoholic and he had been living in an archway under the promenade overlooking the pitch and putt course for the past year.

The court heard that Bishop had confronted Mr Williams after he swore at another person while drinking with a number of homeless friends, including Clark and Phillips, near Portland Road, Hove, in February. She then threatened him that it wasn’t over yet.

Clark and Phillips then committed the murder “at the behest or request” of Bishop.

Williams was struck 20 to 30 times, possibly with a metal railing he kept for protection.

After the case Detective Chief Inspector Ian Pollard said: “It is clear from evidence that Lauren Bishop instigated the attack on Lea Williams and sent Clarke and Phillips to carry it out.

“The reward for Phillips for carrying out her instructions was sexual favours, which he received later that evening.

“Phillips claimed to be a good friend to Lea, however the offer of sexual favours from Bishop meant more to him than that friendship as he took part in this brutal attack and tried to blame Clark.

“Clark claimed he had suffered blackouts and had no memory of what had happened but so compelling was the evidence, he was also found guilty of murder.”

The court heard how all three met up after and celebrated by buying and drinking alcohol on the seafront. CCTV from the Londis store nearby showed Phillips and Clark laughing and joking shortly after carrying out the attack.