A Hastings man who was murdered by his ex-girlfriend’s partner has officially been declared dead at an inquest this week.
At a hearing held at Muriel Matters House on Tuesday (December 12), a coroner’s court heard how 37-year-old scaffolder Karl Bunster was found to have been shot and killed by 49-year-old Ben Walton in the early hours of December 18, 2015.
The inquest also heard how Walton, who was jailed for Mr Bunster’s murder in August this year, is thought to have disposed of the body at an industrial estate in Devon after the killing.
The inquest heard from Detective Inspector Mark Cullimore, of the Sussex and Surrey Major Crime Team, who described the investigation which led to Walton’s conviction.
DI Cullimore said that the investigation began after Mr Bunster failed to answer police bail after he was arrested for alledgedly assaulting his ex-girlfriend Stacey McClymont on November 26, 2015.
During attempts to trace his whereabouts in December, DI Cullimore said, police spoke with McClymont, who claimed she had not seen him for several weeks.
DI Cullimore said this was later found to be false as McClymont’s phone records showed she had been in almost daily contact with him since the arrest and had booked a taxi to take Mr Bunster to her home in Mann Street on December 17, 2015.
DI Cullimore said that, while a body was never found, traces of Mr Bunster’s blood was found inside the home as well as inside a van and on a .22 rifle owned by Walton. The pair, who had moved to Exeter in Devon during the investigation, were charged with Mr Bunster’s murder in June 2016.
After a trial Walton was found guilty of murder and peverting the course of justice and jailed for a minimum of 30 years. McClymont was found not guilty of murder but guilty of perverting the course of justice.
After hearing DI Cullimore’s evidence, East Sussex Coroner Alan Craze recorded a conclusion of unlawful killing.