Beds, Herts & Bucks

Men guilty of Luton dumbbell bludgeon murder

Atul Shah Image copyright Bedfordshire Police
Image caption Atul Shah's family described him as a "lovely man" with a "zest for life"

Two men accused of bludgeoning a man to death with a dumbbell have been found guilty of his "sickening" murder.

Atul Shah, 47, was found dead in Crescent Road, Luton, on 6 January.

Luke West, 23, of Abbots Wood Road and Kyle Pitchford-Price, 23, of Dovehouse Hill in Luton, both denied his murder, although West admitted manslaughter.

Luton Crown Court heard the dumbbell was smashed into Mr Shah's mouth with such ferocity that three of his teeth were later found in his stomach.

A liquid chemical used to encourage plant growth was also poured over his face.

Image copyright Beds Police
Image caption Atul Shah's flat after the attack and the two men found guilty of his murder, Kyle Pitchford-Price (top) and Luke West (bottom)

The court was told the men attacked Mr Shah after going to his flat to rob him of money and cannabis.

During the five-week trial, forensic pathologist Sir Alexander Kolar took the jury through a catalogue of injuries found on Mr Shah's body, including bruises and swelling to his face and head and cuts and lacerations.

'Unimaginable torture'

The court heard the pair bound and beat Mr Shah, hit him with a broom handle and used a kitchen knife to inflict other injuries.

He was found naked from the waist down with his ankles tied.

A post-mortem examination found Mr Shah died as a result of multiple injuries.

Det Insp Justine Jenkins of the Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire, and Hertfordshire major crime unit said: "This was an absolutely sickening and brutal case, with both Pitchford-Price and West inflicting unimaginable torture on their victim."

Image copyright South Beds News Agency
Image caption Police launched a murder investigation after Mr Shah was found dead at his home in Crescent Road, Luton

Speaking after his death, Mr Shah's family said they were "devastated and may probably never recover from this cruel horrific murder of Atul".

"We know those who are guilty of his death will serve their time in prison, however, we are truly saddened to say that the outcome of the trial has no bearing on the fact that we will never see Atul's smiling face again."

Both Pitchford-Price and West were also convicted of conspiring with others to rob Mr Shah.

Corrina Armstrong 21, of Dovehouse Hill, who was the girlfriend of Pitchford-Price, and Callum Holton, 19 were cleared of the robbery charge.

However, Armstrong was convicted of conspiracy to burgle. She admitted perverting the course of justice.

Brian Edge, 56, the step-father of West, was cleared of perverting the course of justice.

West and Pitchford-Price, together with Armstrong will be sentenced at a later date.

More on this story

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites