Mum of Joe Pooley calls for inquest into 'wider circumstances' of son's death

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

The mother of murdered Ipswich man Joe Pooley has called for an inquest to "fully understand" the wider circumstances leading up to her son's death. 

Mr Pooley's mother Sam Nicholls said her 22-year-old son, who was vulnerable and had learning difficulties, "should have been afforded all the support the state could muster". 

Mr Pooley's body was found in the River Gipping on August 13, 2018

Sebastian Smith, 35, (formerly known as Luke Greenland), Sean Palmer, 31, and Becki West-Davidson, 30, were convicted of murdering Mr Pooley by a jury following a four-month trial at Ipswich Crown Court.

All had denied the charge. 

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

On Monday, Smith, of no fixed address, Palmer, of South Market Road, Great Yarmouth and West-Davidson, of Rope Walk, Ipswich, were jailed for life for Mr Pooley's murder

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, Palmer for 18 years and West-Davidson for 17 years.

Mr Pooley lived in several different care placements until he turned 18 and at the time of his death was awaiting transfer to supported living accommodation. 

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Solicitors acting for Ms Nicholls said that Smith should have been recalled to prison before Mr Pooley was murdered. 

Joe Pooley's mum, Sam Nicholls

Joe Pooley's mother, Sam Nicholls, has called for an inquest into the wider circumstances that led to his death - Credit: Sam Nicholls

Ms Nicholls said: "While nothing can bring my son back, at the very least, his killers have finally faced justice for the crime they committed.

"Joe was a vulnerable young man who should have been afforded all the support the state could muster, but it is clear that this did not happen.

"To get to the bottom of what happened in the lead up to my son's murder, I believe an inquest must be held to identify if and where failings occurred.

"We must get to the truth, so I can finally come to terms with what happened, as well as knowing that lessons have been learned, so this can never happen to another family.”

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

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

Human Rights solicitor Sarah Flanagan, from Hodge Jones and Allen Solicitors, said Mrs Nicholls has called for an inquest to see if "there was anything that could and should have been done to protect him that might have altered the tragic outcome". 

She added: "Ms Nicholls hopes this will include looking into the adequacy of the care provided by the various organisations that were involved with Joe and also the failure to recall Luke Greenland to prison.

"While Ms Nicholls welcomes the conviction and sentencing of Joe’s killers, there are many unanswered questions.

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