Mum asked friends to drown ‘vulnerable’ autistic man she ‘ghosted’ after sex

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A woman asked two friends to kill a "vulnerable" autistic man she had sex with after "ghosting" him, a court heard.

Becki West-Davidson "encouraged" the hit on Joe Pooley, 22, after becoming infuriated when he said he wasn't surprised she didn't live with her kids.

Ipswich Crown Court heard how the 30-year-old ignored messages and rejected Mr Pooley's advances after they had sex.

But West-Davidson, from Ipswich, became incensed when he said "no wonder you ain't with your kids" and plotted revenge.

She enlisted friends Sean Palmer, 31, and Sebastian Smith, 35, to attack Mr Pooley on August 7, 2018 and drown him in the River Gipping in Ipswich, Suffolk.

Mr Pooley's body was discovered in the water almost a week after he was attacked.

Smith, previously known as Luke Greenland, had joined the search to find Mr Pooley with his family, the court was told.

But Smith is thought to have confessed to taking the victim to a wood a week before his death and telling him to "dig his own grave".

West-Davidson, from Ipswich, faked being heartbroken by Mr Pooley's death and was even comforted by his mum.

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Jurors at the four-month trial heard how West-Davidson and Mr Pooley had slept together at her flat.

The trio denied murder, but were found guilty on Monday.

Judge Martyn Levett said he believed Mr Pooley had "fallen madly in love" with West-Davidson after they had sex.

"Rather cruelly you blanked him and ghosted him and alienated him, leaving him bereft of any comfort," he told her.

"There is no doubt in my mind that you encouraged the attack on Joe Pooley. The sad thing is that he was only after a loving heart, but you betrayed his heart.

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"You were part of a group of people who accepted Joe when it suited you, but no sooner had that been done, you rejected him."

Jailing her for 17 years, Judge Levett added that he believed West-Davidson had encouraged the attack.

Smith, from Hawick, Roxburghshire, and Palmer, from Great Yarmouth, Norfolk, were also jailed for life for murder.

Smith was ordered to serve a minimum of 21 years, while Palmer he will spend at least 18 years behind bars.

The jury was told West-Davidson had become "so angry" at Mr Pooley's "clear reference" to her children not living with her she "smashed up her room".

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He was later asked to meet Smith and Palmer, who attacked him by the river while walking him home.

Mr Pooley's mum Sam Nicholls told the court her son had learning disabilities.

She added that he was bullied by "unsavoury characters" after moving into accommodation without adequate support.

"He was desperate for friends but was sadly unable to tell that people around him were not friends," Ms Nicholls said.

She accused the killer trio of being "selfish bullies" who were mean to him because of his disabilities.

Addressing West-Davidson, she said: "I will never forgive you for coming to Joe's memorial and conning me into thinking you cared for Joe. I put my arms around you and comforted you.

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She also said she had been "robbed of the chance to kiss Joe goodbye because of his decomposition of his body".

Prosecutor Christopher Paxton QC said West-Davidson had "encouraged others" to attack Mr Pooley, who was "vulnerable, trusting of others and easily taken advantage of."

After the hearing, Ms Nicholls said: "I am very happy with the sentences. It is not going to bring Joe back, but it helps that he has some justice."

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