Three people convicted of murdering Ipswich man Joe Pooley to be sentenced

Sean Palmer, Sebastian Smith and Becki West-Davidson

Sean Palmer, Sebastian Smith and Becki West-Davidson, who were convicted of murdering Ipswich man Joe Pooley - Credit: Suffolk Police

Two men and a woman will be sentenced on Monday for the murder of Ipswich man Joe Pooley, whose body was found in the River Gipping.

Sebastian Smith, Sean Palmer and Becki West-Davidson were all convicted of murder by majority verdicts at Ipswich Crown Court in March following 59 hours of jury deliberations.

A fourth defendant, Lisa-Marie Smith, was unanimously cleared of murder and an alternative charge of manslaughter.

The jury retired to consider its verdicts on Friday, February 19, more than four months after the trial began on October 12 and returned its verdicts on March 19.

Photo of Joe Pooley in dark tee shirt

Joe Pooley, from Ipswich, who was found in the River Gipping - Credit: Suffolk Constabulary

Mr Pooley's body was found in the River Gipping by a dog walker at about 10.30am on August 13, 2018.

The likely cause of his death was later established to have been immersion in water.

The defendants were accused of ganging up and murdering the 22-year-old on or before August 7.

Sebastian Smith, 35, of no fixed address, Palmer, 30, of South Market Road, Great Yarmouth, West-Davidson, 30, of Rope Walk, Ipswich, and Lisa-Marie Smith, 26, of Hawick, Roxburghshire, had all denied murder and manslaughter during the trial, which took place across two courtrooms due to Covid-19 protocol.

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Opening the trial in October, prosecution counsel Christopher Paxton QC alleged that each defendant had a role to play in events that led to the death of Mr Pooley, who had been under the wing of adult social care and was considered to be “vulnerable, trusting of others and easily taken advantage of”.

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