A Brighton man has been jailed for life for murder even though the victim’s body has never been found.
Danny Alexander, 62, a homeless mechanic, was convicted of murdering Gary Hampson at the garage where he worked for him in Little Western Street, on the border of Brighton and Hove.
Forensic evidence indicated that a large amount of Mr Hampson’s blood had been spilt at the garage.
Alexander, who faces up to 30 years in prison, was also found guilty of conspiring to pervert the course of justice.
Two other people were jailed for their involvement in the case yesterday (Friday 21 December).
Roy Bartup, 58, of Natal Road, Brighton, and Linda Rosenberg, 68, of Montpelier Road, Brighton, were both convicted of being part of a conspiracy to pervert the course of justice.
Bartup was sentenced to eight years in prison and Rosenberg, Alexander’s girlfriend, was jailed for three years. She spread rumours about Mr Hampson’s disappearance.
A fourth defendant, Alan Topping, 50, of Lewes Prison, was cleared by a jury at Hove Crown Court of conspiring to pervert the course of justice.
Mr Hampson, 43, of Old Shoreham Road, Portslade, was reported missing in January last year after he failed to contact his daughter who was ten at the time. He had been in regular contact with her.
Detective Chief Inspector Jeff Riley, of the Surrey and Sussex Major Crime Team, who led the murder inquiry, said: “This is the first time Sussex Police has secured a murder conviction without the victim’s body being found.
“It has, therefore, been one of the most complex investigations that I have worked on in my career and I am delighted that after a long and intense trial justice has been done.
“The three defendants showed no remorse for their actions throughout the trial and sought to blame others and mislead the court about the nature of Gary’s death and subsequent disposal of his body.
“In the case of Rosenberg, this was done in an attempt to frustrate the investigation and cover up her partner’s role in Gary’s death and disposal of his body.
“Bartup helped dispose of Gary and helped Alexander clear up the crime scene.
“Gary’s family and friends have been put through the torment of a prolonged and difficult trial and denied any form of closure due to his body not being found.
“I would appeal again to anyone who knows the whereabouts of Gary’s body to please get in touch.”
He urged anyone with information to call Sussex Police on 101 or the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.
He added: “Any new lines of inquiry will be investigated.”
After the trial the mother of Mr Hampson’s daughter said: “The last two years have been extremely difficult for Gary’s family and friends but most particularly for his children.
“His daughter, who is now 11, idolised her father and this verdict will go some way to providing the closure that she needs and so dearly craves.
“All we ask and pray now is that the guilty parties or those associated with them will disclose the last vital missing piece of information so that Gary may finally be laid to rest.
“We are grateful to the court, Sussex Police and to everybody involved in investigating and prosecuting this sad case for their time and attention and for ensuring that justice has prevailed.
“With the culprits having been found guilty and now imprisoned, I urge and plead for anyone who may have information as to where Gary’s remains are located to come forward in order to help my daughter reach full closure and so that she may finally attempt to start rebuilding her life.”
The Crown Prosecution Service said: “The trial at Hove Crown Court had been told that, although Gary Hampson’s body had not been found, forensic examination found three distinct areas of blood stains at the garage and in a car, pointing to Mr Hampson being killed in the garage, with his body then taken elsewhere in the car.
“His mobile phone also showed him being at the garage on the day he disappeared.”
Simon Drew, the CPS prosecutor, said: “The fact that Gary Hampson’s body has never been found has presented evidential challenges for us but it is not a bar to a prosecution.
“Due to an extensive investigation by Sussex Police, we were able to rely on a number of strands of evidence to prove that Gary Hampson was dead, that he was unlawfully killed and that he was unlawfully killed by Daniel Alexander.”