Three jailed for life for Brighton murder

Posted On 24 Oct 2011 at 5:52 pm

Three men have been convicted today of the murder of a homeless man in a squat in Brighton earlier this year.

John Battams, 40, Mike Zur, 28, and Ireneusz Malesza, 28, all of no fixed address, were convicted of killing Craig Palmer, 39, in January.

John Battams, Ireneusz Malesza and Mike Zur

After a four-week trial at Hove Crown Court they were sentenced today (Monday 24 October) to life imprisonment with a minimum tariff of 15 years each.

A fourth man, Bartlomiej Szostek, 27, was found not guilty.

Mr Palmer’s body was found by officers from Sussex Police at a house in Russell Square, Brighton, on the evening of Saturday 15 January. He died of head injuries.

The house had been vacant since the previous September when the owner died.

Two days before the murder, police had been called to the address over reports of activity there.

They found that the address was insecure and spoke to a number of people who were inside.

Early on the Saturday evening officers returned after further calls from the public.

It was then that they found the body of Mr Palmer in a fourth-floor room. His body had not been there on the Thursday.

In a family statement Mr Palmer’s wife, Deborah Lawrence, said: “We would like to thank all the police officers and staff involved in the investigation for their hard work and dedication to bring justice for Craig.

“Our only comment about the verdict is that we are satisfied that justice has been done.

Missed

“Craig is missed so much. We have good memories of him and have photographs and videos of him to which we often refer and this helps to keep his memory alive.

“Had he lived, Craig would have become a granddad in January as his son Jimmy and his partner are expecting a baby.

“We also want particular mention to be made of Sergeant Richard Siggs and the street community team in Brighton.

“We thank them for all the work they did with Craig while he was living in Brighton and for the help they have given us since his death.

“We also want to thank our police family liaison officers.”

Ms Lawrence attended the whole trial with her son Craig junior and her father-in-law.

Detective Chief Inspector Jeff Riley, of the Surrey and Sussex Major Crime Team, said: “This was a mindless and unprovoked attack on a vulnerable man.

“He and his attackers were part of the Brighton and Hove street community and this murder seems to have resulted from an alcohol-fuelled argument over a perceived slight by one or more of the group.

“It is a terrible and sad waste of a human life and our thoughts are with Craig’s family at this time.”

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