England

Life sentence for man guilty of Pennie Davis New Forest murder

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Media captionPennie Davis was "deliberately targeted" in the attack

A man has been jailed for at least 32 years for the "savage, pre-planned" murder of a woman found dead in a horse paddock.

Justin Robertson, 36, was paid £1,500 by Benjamin Carr, 22, to "silence" his former stepmother Pennie Davis after a long-running feud between the pair.

Robertson had denied murder but was convicted after a six-week trial.

Carr, from Southampton, was convicted of conspiracy to murder and will serve a minimum of 30 years.

'Particularly brutal'

Co-defendant Samantha Maclean, 28, of Beech Crescent, Hythe, was found not guilty of the same charge at Winchester Crown Court.

Robertson, of no fixed address, had been paid by Carr to attack Mrs Davis on 2 September last year over fears she would disrupt his father's wedding to his new partner.

He was given a life sentence for the murder.

Image copyright Hampshire Police
Image caption Justin Robertson (left) will serve 32 years for murder and Benjamin Carr (right) 30 years for conspiracy to murder

Mother-of-five Mrs Davis, 47, was found dead by her new husband in a field at Leygreen Farm near Beaulieu in the New Forest, where she had been tending to her horses.

She had been stabbed 14 times in an attack described by trial judge Justice Andrew Popplewell QC as "particularly brutal".

During the trial, jurors heard Carr, the son of Mrs Davis' ex-lover, hired Robertson to kill her.

She had threatened to go back to police over sexual assault allegations first made against him when he was 14, the court was told.

It was part of a long-running feud between the pair.

The court heard Mrs Davis had been caught having sex with a former partner by Benjamin Carr while she was in a relationship with his father.

Carr's father Timothy was due to marry last summer and Mrs Davis messaged his fiancée on Facebook, telling her about the allegations she had first made almost 10 years before.

His son feared Mrs Davis would go back to police about the historical sexual abuse and conspired with Robertson to kill her.

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Media captionGeorga Pead, Mrs Davis' daughter: "It is not them, but us, Pennie's family, who have been given the real life sentence"

Robertson's girlfriend, Lian Doyle, 24, also of Beech Crescent, Hythe, pleaded guilty to perverting the course of justice.

In a statement, Mrs Davis's family said: "The people responsible for our mum's brutal murder have been convicted, but we cannot celebrate.

"It is not them, but us, Pennie's family, who have been given the real life sentence. The life of someone precious to us as a mother, daughter, wife and sister has gone and can't be replaced."

Speaking outside court, Det Supt Paul Barton, of Hampshire Police, said: "Pennie was a loving mother who doted on all her children and was just starting a new chapter in her life with husband Pete."

John Montague, of the Crown Prosecution Service, said: "This is a tragic case where a mother-of-five who had just remarried died from a savage pre-planned execution.

"Her husband, Peter, made the terrible discovery when he found her dead near the horses that she loved so much.

"Our thoughts are with him, Mrs Davis' children and extended family."

Image copyright Nicola Lambert
Image caption Pennie Davis had five children: (L-R) Daniel Lambert, 15, Sophie Pead, 21, Georga Pead, 18, Alex Pead, 20, and Joe Lambert, 14.

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