Killers jailed for murder of homeless man Lea Williams

(left to right) Michael Clarke, Edward Phillips
(left to right) Michael Clarke, Edward Phillips

TWO men have been jailed for at least 16 years each for the horrific murder of homeless man from Hastings.

Street drinkers Michael Clark, 51, and Edward Phillips, 49, were today (Monday) told they would serve at least 16 years for the brutal murder of Lea Williams, 45, who was struck between 20 and 30 times with a metal bar.

Lauren Bishop, 36, who ordered the killing was jailed for 15 years for conspiracy to murder. No minimum term was given for her.

The court heard that the body of Lea Williams aged 45 was discovered in an archway on Hove seafront on Monday, February 11, with severe injuries to his face, head and multiple fractures to his ribs.

Speaking outside court on Friday, when the trio were convicted, the man who led the murder investigation said Mr Williams was killed for sexual favours.

Detective chief inspector Ian Pollard said: “It is clear from evidence that Lauren Bishop instigated the attack on Lea Williams and sent Clarke and Phillips to carry it out. The reward for Phillips for carrying out her instructions was sexual favours, which he received later that evening.”

At today’s sentencing, Judge Anthony Scott-Gall told Clark and Phillips: “This was a most dreadful crime carried out with a most brutal and chilling callousness.”

He added: “There is no mitigation that can be reasonable offered to the crime.”

Addressing Bishop, he said: “I have no doubt if it had not been for your powers of persuasion, I believe neither would have gone off to kill Mr Williams. You have a heavy burden to carry for this crime. You have revealed yourself as a callous individual and have shown no remorse.”