Birmingham & Black Country

Lisa Bennett death: Couple convicted of homeless woman's murder

Kathleen Salmond and Kevin Flanaga Image copyright West Midlands Police
Image caption Kathleen Salmond and Kevin Flanagan have been convicted of murder

A couple has been convicted of murdering a homeless woman by drowning her in a bath then dumping her body in a wheelie bin.

Kathleen Salmond and Kevin Flanagan killed 39-year-old Lisa Bennett at their flat in Birmingham on or around 9 May 2013, then claimed her benefits.

Salmond, 40, was also found guilty of benefit fraud and preventing a burial. Flanagan, 39, previously admitted the same charges.

They are due to be sentenced on Friday.

Prosecutors at Birmingham Crown Court said after the defendants killed Ms Bennett at their home in Weirbrook Close in Weoley Castle, they put her body in a wheelie bin which was later incinerated at a waste facility.

Her remains have never been found.

'Callousness was breathtaking'

The defendants then "reaped the benefit of Lisa's disappearance" after Salmond phoned the Department for Work and Pensions and pretended to be the victim. In total the cruel couple netted £4,979 in benefits between 8 and 31 May, 2013.

Flanagan also used the victim's phone to text her mother "to make her believe that nothing had happened and Lisa was alive", prosecutors said.

Image copyright West Midlands Police
Image caption Lisa Bennett disappeared on 9 May 2013

Jurors were told Ms Bennett was a drug and alcohol addict who had last been seen collecting her prescribed heroin substitute from a pharmacy.

Flanagan insisted he had told his brother Ms Bennett "died from an overdose," jurors heard.

Salmond, of Farnhurst Road, Hodge Hill, and Flanagan, of Redbrook Covert, Kings Norton, were remanded into custody.

"The callousness and cruelty of their actions was breathtaking," said David Parsons of the Crown Prosecution Service. "They purported to be Lisa's friends, but killed her and left her in a wheelie bin."

Det Chf Insp Jim Munro said: "Flanagan and Salmond preyed on a vulnerable woman who was trying to turn her life around, they abused the trust she put in them.

"We believe they were motivated by greed and the money they could get from Lisa's benefits. They have still shown no remorse for what they have done."

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