Joe Pooley: Three guilty of murdering vulnerable man thrown in river

  • Published
Joe PooleyImage source, Suffolk Police
Image caption,
Joe Pooley, 22, was set upon by two men after a comment he made to one of the defendants, Becki West-Davidson

Three people have been found guilty of murdering a vulnerable man who was attacked and thrown into a river to drown after a row with a woman.

Joe Pooley, 22, was found dead in the River Gipping, Ipswich in August 2018.

Ipswich Crown Court heard Becki West-Davidson, 30, "stoked up hostility" which led to him being set upon by Sean Palmer, 31, and Sebastian Smith, 35.

All three had denied murder, along with Lisa-Marie Smith, 26, who was cleared by a jury of murder and manslaughter.

Image source, Suffolk Police
Image caption,
From left, Sean Palmer, Sebastian Smith, and Becki West-Davidson were found guilty of murder

The jury was told West-Davidson and Mr Pooley had slept together and hostility was created after a flurry of messages were later sent, in one of which Mr Pooley said: "No wonder you ain't with your kids".

Jurors were told it was a "clear reference" to the fact West-Davidson's children do not live with her and had made her "so angry" that she "smashed up her room".

Image caption,
Joe Pooley's body was found almost a week after he was killed, the court was told

The court was told Mr Pooley was killed in the early hours of 7 August, and his body found almost a week later by a dog walker.

Prosecutor Christopher Paxton QC said West-Davidson, 30, of Roper Court, Ipswich, had "encouraged others" to attack Mr Pooley, who was "under the wing of adult social care" and considered vulnerable.

He said Mr Palmer, of Shakespeare Road, Ipswich, and Mr Smith, of no fixed address, assaulted him and threw him into the river.

It was alleged that Ms Smith, of Hawthorn Road, Great Cornard, Sudbury, had "assisted by luring Joe Pooley from the safety of his home knowing he was going to be attacked", Mr Paxton said.

West-Davidson, Sebastian Smith, and Palmer were remanded in custody to await sentencing in May.

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