Three men have been jailed today after a Brighton man was killed and his body dumped and set on fire on a golf course.
Sean Iran, 21, of St Richard’s Road, Portslade, was jailed at Lewes Crown Court for at least 19 years for murdering 36-year-old Stefan Welch.
Iran, a registered sex offender, was also convicted of conspiring to pervert the course of justice.
His brother Navid Iran, 23, also of St Richard’s Road, was sent to prison for six years for perverting the course of justice after helping to cover up the killing.
And their father Babak Iran, 44, of the same address, was sentenced to seven years in jail for also helping his son after the murder.
The charred remains of Mr Welch’s body were found in undergrowth at The Dyke Golf Club in Devil’s Dyke Road, across the road from the Devil’s Dyke.
Mr Welch, who lived in a hostel in Oriental Place, Brighton, was killed after being hit on the head with a heavy blunt object.
His burnt body was found by one of his former primary school teachers Malcolm McNeil.
Mr McNeil was shocked after stumbling across the charred remains of Mr Welch in undergrowth between the 17th and 18th holes on the golf course on Saturday 4 September last year.
Mr Welch had told his probation officer on the day before he was killed that he had been threatened over drug debts.
Detective Chief Inspector Trevor Bowles, of Sussex Police, said: “When his body was discovered the following morning, it was not possible even to determine its gender.
“Stefan was vulnerable, defenceless and completely without malice.
“Sean Iran took his life in a pre-planned way and without care.
“He has shown not the first crumb of remorse.
“Sean Iran, his brother Navid and their father Babak, have been found guilty of conspiring to pervert the course of public justice, in the efforts they took to cover up the murder and dispose of Stefan’s body.
“What these three men did was violent, cunning and completely unwarranted.”
Mr Welch, an unemployed heroin addict, met Iran when they shared a cell in Lewes Prison in 2008.
Iran credited Mr Welch with saving his life during a beating by four other inmates and stayed in touch with him after his release from prison.
In court, the jury took about five hours to convict Iran and his father and brother.
Afterwards Mr Welch’s brother Tim said: “Today’s verdict removes three men from society, one of whose actions led to Stefan’s horrific death.
“Stef was not a violent or malicious man and did nothing to deserve this fate.
“Sean Iran took advantage of this friendship and betrayed Stef’s trust in the worst possible way.
“True justice will never been done. However long the sentences the Irans receive, Stef is still gone.
“His untimely death has been a shock to us and we forever mourn the loss of a loving father, brother, son and friend.”
The Welch family were ordered to be quiet by the judge, Mr Justice Nicol, after they shouted out when the jury returned their verdicts.
The court was told that Iran had been jailed for two years in August 2008 for attacking and robbing a 15-year-old boy.
And he was on the sex offenders’ register for sexually assaulting a 15-year-old girl.