Jury sent out in murder trial

THE JURY was sent out to deliberate its verdict in the horrific murder of a man from Hastings who was battered to death near Hove seafront.

After a four-week trial at Lewes Crown Court, the jury was sent out at 2.45pm on Wednesday to decide whether they found street drinkers Edward Phillips and Michael Clark guilty of murder and Lauren Bishop guilty of conspiracy to murder.

Judge Anthony Scott-Gall summarised Phillips’ defence for the jury.

He said Phillips said he could remember ‘quite a few of us talking’ outside the Post Office in Hove earlier in the day on February 8 this year.

Phillips had told the court he could not recall Lauren Bishop pushing or threatening anyone and he could not remember intervening. He did recall someone saying, ‘don’t do that it’s not nice’.

Judge Scott-Gall said Phillips had said: ‘To me it was just a normal day, drinkers shouting at each other’. Phillips had said: “It was never a conspiracy to murder Lea.”

He had said previously: “We ended up at the bat caves because Clark said ‘hang on a moment I want a word with Lea’. He didn’t seem angry, I wasn’t worried.’

Judge Scott-Gall reminded the jury of Phillips’ evidence that it was Clark who took the bar and started to beat Mr Williams and that Phillips himself lent no support to the attack. Judge Scott-Gall said: “What was Bishop’s role? Was she the one who bought this all about by asking for the head of John the Baptist on a plate.

“Or was it just an idle rumpus between street drinkers, and it is just a coincidence that less than an hour after the ruckus Lea Williams was dead and one of the defendants was later having sex with Miss Bishop that night.”