Mum of murdered Joe Pooley welcomes decision to resume inquest

Joe Pooley, from Ipswich, was found dead in the River Gipping in 2018 Picture: SUFFOLK CONSTABULARY

An inquest into the death of Joe Pooley is set to resume - Credit: Archant

The mum of murdered Ipswich man Joe Pooley has welcomed the decision to resume the inquest into her son's death following the sentencing of his killers. 

The senior coroner for Suffolk has agreed to resume the inquest - which had been adjourned during the lengthy criminal proceedings.

A pre-inquest review hearing will be held in due course.

Mr Pooley's body was found in the River Gipping on August 13, 2018, and a police investigation found he had been murdered on or around August 7. 

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

Last month, Sebastian Smith, 35, of no fixed address, Sean Palmer, 31, of South Market Road, Great Yarmouth, and Becki West-Davidson, 30, of Rope Walk, Ipswich, were convicted of murdering Mr Pooley by a jury following a four-month trial at Ipswich Crown Court.

Handing down the sentences, Judge Martyn Levett directed that Smith should serve a minimum term of 21 years before he can be considered eligible for parole, while Palmer must serve at least 18 years and West-Davidson a minimum of 17 years.

A fourth defendant, Lisa-Marie Smith, 26, of Hawick, Roxburghshire, was unanimously cleared of murder and an alternative charge of manslaughter.


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At the time of his death, 22-year-old Mr Pooley had been placed in bed and breakfast accommodation and was awaiting transfer to supported living accommodation.

Mr Pooley, who was a vulnerable adult, had been in the care of various agencies during his life. 

Joe Pooley's mum, Sam Nicholls

Joe Pooley's mother, Sam Nicholls, has welcomed the decision to resume the inquest - Credit: Sam Nicholls

Although he never received a formal diagnosis, it was suspected that Mr Pooley had Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD), Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and/or learning disabilities, solicitors acting for Mr Pooley's mother, Sam Nicholls, said

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Sarah Flanagan, of Hodge, Jones and Allen Solicitors, who is representing the family, said: “We welcome the coroner's decision to hold an inquest into the death of Joe Pooley.

"The inquest process is important for families who have lost loved ones in unexpected or violent circumstances, and Ms Nicholls has a long road ahead of her particularly given the backlog created by the Covid-19 pandemic.

“On behalf of Sam, we hope for a full and fearless investigation into the circumstances in which Joe came to be murdered that will, hopefully, address some of the many remaining questions she has.

"This is just the beginning of the process by which Sam can learn about the wider circumstances leading up to Joe’s murder.”

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