Clacton killing pair found guilty of 'vicious attack'
A young mother has been found guilty of killing a carpenter in a "ferocious and cowardly attack".
Oliver Smith-Daye, 29, was found fatally hurt in Trimley Close, Clacton-on-Sea, Essex, on New Year's Day.
A jury at Chelmsford Crown Court has found Elisha Francois, 21, of Harold Hill, guilty of manslaughter and Charlie Jacobs, 23, of Beach Road in Clacton, guilty of murder.
Alan Didier, 42, of Renfrew Close in London, was cleared of murder.
Judge Christopher Ball QC has adjourned sentencing Jacobs and Francois until the week of 3 September.
During the two-week trial, the jury, which took about four hours to reach unanimous verdicts, heard how Mr Smith-Daye, who was from Clacton, had been "subjected to a brutal and sustained assault".
The court was told how Mr Smith-Daye and his friend Mark Fletcher had been at a party next door to the terraced house where the pregnant Francois was at that time staying with her mother.
Mr Fletcher and Mr Smith-Daye did some tidying up in the early hours of New Year's Day before heading out to drive home, the court was told.
Once outside, the jury heard, Mr Smith-Daye realised he had left his keys inside the house so returned to get them.
He knocked on the door and shouted: "Come on wake up" through the letterbox.
End Quote Family of Oliver Smith-Daye
We have to spend the rest of our lives without Oli and we will be thinking of him and missing him every single day”
At that point Francois, now a mother-of-two, shouted out of the window that he was waking her child up, the jury was told.
The court heard how Francois appeared outside and attacked Mr Smith-Daye before she was joined by Jacobs.
While Mr Fletcher ran to a telephone box to call the police, the jury was told, Mr Smith-Daye was "struck, stamped on and repeatedly punched".
Mr Smith-Daye was heard to say "my neck, I've broken my neck. I can't believe they've hit me like that".
He died later that day in hospital.'Wholly unenecessary'
After the case, Det Ch Insp Mark Hall of the Essex and Kent Serious Crime Directorate, said Mr Smith-Daye had gone out "to enjoy a few drinks, share some laughs and look forward to 2012".
"It was his misfortune that his path should cross with Charlie Jacobs and Elisha Francois."
He told how both "had a history of violent offending" and that night had spent the evening "drinking alcohol and taking cocaine".
"A trivial encounter resulted in a wholly unnecessary, ferocious and cowardly attack by these two defendants, who together viciously punched and kicked Oliver, before leaving him for dead."
Det Ch Insp Hall paid tribute to Mr Smith-Daye's family.
"Throughout this trial they have had to face Oliver's killers and listen as they sought to place the blame on Oliver - a version of events which this jury has rejected.
"Despite their trauma and the ordeal of the trial, the family have conducted themselves with great integrity and dignity throughout."
A statement from Mr Smith-Daye's family said: "We have to spend the rest of our lives without Oli and we will be thinking of him and missing him every single day."
Francois was released on bail until sentencing to make arrangements for her two children.