River death accused allegedly told friend he ‘might have murdered someone’

PUBLISHED: 19:00 23 October 2020

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


A man accused of murdering Ipswich teenager Joe Pooley, whose body was found in the River Gipping, allegedly told a friend that he might have murdered someone, a court has heard.

In a recorded interview played to a jury at Ipswich Crown Court, Lisa Mills said Sebastian Smith, also known as Luke Greenland, called her and asked if he and his girlfriend could stay with her because he’d “had a fight with someone who had ended up in the river”.

Ms Mills said he’d sounded drunk and told her he could get done for murder and that he “might have murdered someone”.

Ms Mills said she thought he’d been “bigging himself up” and if she thought he’d actually killed someone she would have contacted the police.

She said she didn’t want him and his girlfriend to turn up at her house because he was drunk and had been involved in a fight.

Ms Mills said Smith told her later that a body had been found in the river and he thought it was the man he’d had a fight with.

Before the court are Sebastian Smith, 35, of no fixed address, Sean Palmer, 30, of South Market Road, Great Yarmouth, Becki West-Davidson, 30, of Rope Walk, Ipswich, and Lisa-Marie Smith, 26, of Hawick, Roxburghshire.

They have all denied murdering Mr Pooley on or before August 7, 2018

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

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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