Essex

Michael Beckwith killing: Former girlfriend murdered care worker

Rebecca Ryan and Scott Swift Image copyright Essex Police
Image caption Rebecca Ryan and Scott Swift plotted to kill Michael Beckwith

A woman who lured her former boyfriend to his death has been found guilty of murder.

Michael Beckwith, 44, was attacked by two men with metal poles after arranging to meet ex-girlfriend Rebecca Ryan, 22.

A jury at Chelmsford Crown Court also found Scott Swift, 27, guilty of murder and Joseph Smith, 18, guilty of manslaughter.

The attack took place in Barrack Lane, Harwich, last July.

Mr Beckwith was lured to the remote part of Harwich on 31 July last year, before suffering 17 blows to his head, arms and legs. He died on 2 August.

The court heard his relationship with Ryan, whom he had met while working at Connolly Care Home in Weeley - a residential home for mental health patients - had ended a few days before the attack.

Image copyright Essex Police
Image caption Keen fisherman Michael Beckwith worked at a residential home for mental health patients

The court heard Ryan, of Hilltop Rise, Weeley, had directed him down a stony track where he was attacked by two men holding metal bars.

Her former boyfriend, Swift, a care assistant from Station Road, Dovercourt had denied murdering Mr Beckwith.

Smith, from Canning Street, Harwich, pleaded guilty to manslaughter during the trial but this was not accepted by the prosecution. The jury found him not guilty of murder but convicted him of the manslaughter of Mr Beckwith.

Triston and Enderlein Biddlecombe, from East Street, Harwich, were found guilty of washing clothes and providing a false alibi, but not guilty of burning clothes.

Speaking after the hearing, Det Insp Al Pitcher, of the Kent and Essex Serious Crime Directorate, said the investigation had been "lengthy and complicated".

He said Ryan and Swift "had callously planned" to cause Michael serious harm.

In a statement, Mr Beckwith's family said his loss was "beyond words".

They described him as a "gentle giant" with a heart "as big as the world".

"His death has left a gaping hole in our family," the statement added.

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