Murder accused told friend he put victim ‘in the river’

PUBLISHED: 19:27 29 October 2020 | UPDATED: 10:15 30 October 2020

Joe Pooley's body was discovered in the River Gipping  Picture: RACHEL EDGE

Joe Pooley's body was discovered in the River Gipping Picture: RACHEL EDGE


A man accused of murdering a 22-year-old Ipswich man whose body was found in the River Gipping allegedly told a friend that he and another man had “put him in the river”, a court has heard.

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

Giving evidence at Ipswich Crown Court Rebecca Crosfield said that Sebastian Smith allegedly said there had been a fight during which he had punched Joe Pooley to the head.

Miss Crosfield alleged that Sebastian Smith had also told her that her former boyfriend, Sean Palmer, who is also accused of murdering Mr Pooley, had helped put him in the river

She told the court that Palmer had also allegedly admitted to her that he’d been involved in Mr Pooley’s death.

Palmer, 30, of South Market Road, Great Yarmouth, Sebastian Smith, 35, of no fixed address, Becki West-Davidson, 30, of Rope Walk, Ipswich, and Lisa-Marie Smith, 26, of Hawick, Roxburghshire have all denied murdering Mr Pooley on or before August 7, 2018

The court has heard that Mr Pooley had autism and was considered to be “vulnerable, trusting of others and easily taken advantage of”.

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Christopher Paxton QC, prosecuting, has alleged that West-Davidson, who had a sexual relationship with Mr Pooley, had been angry with Mr Pooley over comments he was said to have made about her and Lisa-Marie Smith and had “stoked up hostility towards him”.

He claimed that Sebastian Smith and Palmer had attacked Mr Pooley and thrown his body in the River Gipping after Sebastian Smith’s then girlfriend, Lisa-Marie Smith, allegedly lured Mr Pooley from his address at the Kingsley House Hotel knowing he was going to be attacked.

He claimed that following the discovery of Mr Pooley’s body, Palmer told his then girlfriend that Sebastian Smith had punched Mr Pooley and he had helped put him in the river.

Mr Paxton claimed West-Davidson “tried to cover up” the alleged murder by deleting a number of Facebook messages, including one in which Mr Pooley asked her to “call off the hit” and another telling Mr Pooley “you’re f****d, mate”.

He said that although West-Davidson had expressed love for Mr Pooley she had fallen into a rage after learning about comments he’d allegedly made about her children.

Sebastian Smith had allegedly been angry about things Mr Pooley was supposed to have said about him and his girlfriend Lisa-Marie Smith and sent him a text saying: “I’m going everywhere until I find you.”

Mr Paxton alleged that the defendants had “bullied, threatened and ganged up on” Mr Pooley.

The trial continues.

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