Essex

Douglas Binet guilty of lake arms murder

Anthony Whitefield
Image caption Anthony Whitefield's arms were found in a lake in Essex

A drug dealer has been found guilty of murdering a father whose arms were found in a lake in Essex.

Douglas Binet, 54, was convicted of murdering Anthony Whitefield, 47, after a trial at Chelmsford Crown Court.

Mr Whitefield's severed arms were found in a lake in Buckhurst Hill, while his torso and legs were discovered by police in Binet's rear garden.

Binet, of Hanson Drive, Loughton, will be sentenced on Thursday.

Mr Whitefield, a father of five, was reported missing by his daughter on 10 February, 2011.

His right arm was found by a fisherman in the lake on 31 March, while his left arm was discovered by police divers on 2 April.

His head has never been found.

'Horrifically dismembered'

Det Ch Insp Lucy Robinson, of Essex Police, said after the verdict: "Tony Whitefield was a loving family man and devoted father who was killed and then horrifically dismembered by Douglas Binet.

"Mr Binet has failed to take responsibility for this despicable crime and has continued his deceit throughout this investigation.

"Having brutally cut Tony into pieces, he dumped parts of his body like rubbish.

"Sadly for Tony's family, his head has never been recovered, preventing them from having a proper funeral and fully understanding how Tony died."

Binet had denied murder throughout his trial, claiming Mr Whitefield's torso and legs were delivered to his back garden after he was threatened at gunpoint.

Giving evidence, Binet said he had been taking cocaine since 2002 and had developed "quite a large habit".

He began selling the drug to fund his own addiction and this led to him mixing with a network of drug users and dealers, the jury heard.

Mr Whitefield was also involved in drug dealing and had sold him cocaine since 2010, Binet added.

Binet claimed Mr Whitefield's body was delivered after a man had told him he would receive a package and he should keep his mouth shut or something terrible would happen to members of his family.

He did not contract police for fear of reprisals, he said.

'Rebuild our lives'

Speaking after the verdict, Mr Whitefield's family released a statement which appealed for help in tracking down their father's remains.

"We would like to say how extremely happy we are with the outcome of today's verdict," they said. "It has been a very difficult year for all who knew dad and we are glad that justice has finally been served.

"Things will never be the same for us, but from now we can start to rebuild our lives.

"Tony was not just our father; he was a grandfather, a brother, a partner and a friend. He was truly loved and liked by all and was tragically taken from us.

"Unfortunately our father's head has never been found and the defendant refuses to tell us where our dad's head is.

"We would like to appeal to anyone who knows where it is so that we can lay our father to rest as a whole, as any normal human being deserves."

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