Wiltshire

Trio who murdered Semley man Leonard Adams get life sentences

From left to right: Charlie Chase, 25, Christopher Charles, 48, and Paul Chambers, 49
Image caption Chase, Charles and Chambers (left to right) were sentenced to life in prison

Three people who murdered and buried a man in a shallow grave in Wiltshire have been sentenced to life in prison.

The body of Leonard Adams, 43, who lived in Station Road, Semley, was discovered near the village on 15 October last year.

Charlie Chase, 25, Christopher Charles, 48, and Paul Chambers, 49, all of Station Road, Semley, were found guilty of murdering him earlier this month.

They were sentenced by a judge at Winchester Crown Court earlier.

Chambers must serve a minimum of 15 years, Charles a minimum of 17 years and Chase a minimum of 12 years and six months.

During the trial, the court heard that Mr Adams was living in a caravan in the grounds of The Kingsettle Arms, a disused pub.

He had been living there for some time before Charles, Chase and Chambers joined him in July 2011.

The court was told that when the landowner told Mr Adams they would all be evicted, tension built up within the group.

Image caption Mr Adams's body was found on 15 October 2011

On 14 October, Mr Adams was beaten with a sharp weapon thought to be to be an axe, before he was strangled and buried in a shallow grave a mile and a half from his home.

Mr Adams's body was discovered in a field nearby the next day.

A statement released after the guilty verdicts on behalf of Mr Adams's family said "Lennie" was a man who led an "alternative lifestyle".

"A life which allowed him to dance to his own tune in a way which combined his passion for music and a love of nature. Lennie was a talented artist, a skilled woodsman and a salesman with a unique selling style.

"To many Lennie was ingrained with the rich tapestry of life within Semley and Shaftesbury area.

"Ultimately that tapestry has become tarnished by the devastating manner of his death."

Det Ch Insp Ian Saunders, of Wiltshire Police, said: "We are pleased with the sentencing today and our thoughts are with Lennie's family and friends.

"This was a complex investigation and I would like to thank my team for their hard work and dedication."

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