Sheffield & South Yorkshire

Craig Preston murder: Two jailed for love rival killing

Shiraz Bashir and Leonie Mason Image copyright South Yorkshire Police
Image caption Shiraz Bashir and Leonie Mason were convicted of murdering Craig Preston after a trial at Sheffield Crown Court

Two lovers who beat a man to death and dumped his body in a ravine near a disused tunnel have been jailed.

Shiraz Bashir, 42, and Leonie Mason, 24, attacked Craig Preston in a lay-by in Rotherham before discarding his body by the Woodhead Tunnels in August

The couple, who were convicted of murder, were sentenced to a minimum of 22 and 19 years respectively.

Three teenage boys who joined in the attack were given sentences between three and four years.

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The teenagers, two aged 15 and one aged 16, were convicted of manslaughter after a trial at Sheffield Crown Court.

Image copyright South Yorkshire Police
Image caption Craig Preston's body was discovered by dog walkers near to the Woodhead Tunnel in August 2016

During the trial it emerged that Mason had been in a relationship with both 34-year-old Mr Preston, a low level drug dealer, and pizza delivery driver Bashir at the time of the attack.

However, the jury heard she and Bashir saw Mr Preston as an "annoyance" and "wanted him out of the way" so hatched a plot to kill him.

The couple recruited the three teenagers, one of whom was just 14 at the time, and lured Mr Preston to the lay-by in Town Lane where he was tied up and then kicked, punched and stamped on by all five defendants.

'Trophy photo'

He was then forced into the boot of a car before being dumped on moorland in Derbyshire, where he was discovered the following day by dog walkers.

His trousers and underpants had been pulled down before he was pushed into the ravine by Mason and Bashir.

A photo of his badly beaten body contorted in the boot of the car was later recovered from Bashir's phone.

The judge, Mr Justice Males, said Bashir, who he described as the "driving force" in the killing "hated Mr Preston so much that he saw that photo as a kind of trophy".

Image copyright Gareth James
Image caption Mr Nelson's body was found on moorland near to the A628 at Woodhead Tunnels

Jailing the five defendants, he said: "Craig Preston did not have much of a life. What little he had revolved around his abuse of class A drugs and his fixation with Leonie Mason.

"Nevertheless he was a human being who did not deserve this painful and degrading death."

Addressing the boys - two aged 15 and one aged 16 - he said: "The effect of these sentences is that each of you will serve what to you will be a significant period of detention but you will be released on licence before transfer to an adult prison is required.

"They also give you the prospect of rehabilitation. Your future is in your own hands.

"You have been involved in a terrible event but there is no reason why you should not in time be able to live useful and productive lives."

Mason and Bashir, both of Holme Park Court, Huddersfield, were convicted of murder after a trial.

The three boys, who who cannot be named because of their ages, were found guilty of manslaughter.

An application by the media to have reporting restrictions banning the identification of the teenagers lifted was rejected by the judge.

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