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Three people found guilty of vulnerable man Joe Pooley's murder in Ipswich




Three people have been found guilty of murdering a vulnerable Ipswich man whose body was found in a river in 2018.

Joe Pooley, 22, was found on Monday, August 13 in 2018 in the River Gipping near to London Road in the town.

And today, two men and a woman were convicted of his murder at Ipswich Crown Court.

From left: Sebastian Smith, Becki West-Davidson, and Sean Palmer. Pictures: Suffolk Police
From left: Sebastian Smith, Becki West-Davidson, and Sean Palmer. Pictures: Suffolk Police

The jury found three of the four defendants guilty with majority verdicts following a trial, which started on October 12 last year.

The verdicts were:

  • Sebastian Smith, 35, (previously known as Luke Greenland) of Ramsay Road in Hawick, Roxburghshire - guilty of murder
  • Sean Palmer, 31, of South Market Road in Great Yarmouth - guilty of murder
  • Rebecca (Becki) West-Davidson, 30, (previously known as Rebecca Shevlin) of Roper Court in Ipswich - guilty of murder
  • Lisa-Marie Smith, 26, of Ramsay Road in Hawick, Roxburghshire - not guilty of murder and manslaughter
Ipswich Crown Court. Picture by Mark Westley
Ipswich Crown Court. Picture by Mark Westley

Mr Pooley was a vulnerable adult and needed the support of his family and social care.

He knew all four defendants as they were part of the same extended social network.

Mr Pooley was reported missing to police on Friday, August 10 and on Monday, August 13 his body was discovered in a still part of river by a member of the public around 10.30am.

A post-mortem examination carried out on August 14 determined that the likely cause of Mr Pooley’s death was immersion in water.

Police had begun an investigation into the circumstances of the unexplained death and following initial enquiries, a murder investigation was launched, led by the Joint Norfolk and Suffolk Major Investigation Team.

After a lengthy and complex investigation, detectives concluded that Mr Pooley had been unlawfully killed in the early hours of August 7, 2018.

This led to all four defendants being charged with murder, having acted together as part of a joint enterprise to cause Mr Pooley really serious harm or death.

Palmer and West-Davidson were first arrested on October 2, 2018 on suspicion of murder and both subsequently released.

Sebastian Smith and Lisa-Marie Smith were both first arrested on suspicion of murder on January 17, 2019 before being released.

Over the course of the next eight months the investigation continued with further interviews taking place.

On October 30, 2019 Sebastian Smith was charged with murder. The following day Palmer, West-Davidson and Lisa-Marie Smith were also charged with murder. All four were remanded into custody.

The defendants will be sentenced on May 24.

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