Birmingham & Black Country

Lisa Bennett death: Couple jailed for life over homeless woman's murder

Kathleen Salmond and Kevin Flanaga Image copyright West Midlands Police
Image caption Kathleen Salmond will serve 27 years in jail and Kevin Flanagan will serve 32 years after their murder convictions

A couple who drowned a homeless woman and dumped her body in a bin have been jailed.

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

Prosecutors said they "callously cut her life short".

Salmond, 40, was jailed for a minimum of 27 years while Flanagan, 39, will serve at least 32 after both were found guilty of murder.

At Birmingham Crown Court, Salmond, of Farnhurst Road, Hodge Hill, was also convicted of benefit fraud and preventing a burial, while Flanagan, of Redbrook Covert, Kings Norton, had previously admitted the charges.

Ms Bennett was last seen at a chemist in the Selly Oak area of the city on 9 May 2013.

She was a recovering drug addict who was trying to turn her life around, West Midlands Police said.

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

The pair 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 and "reaped the benefit" of her disappearance netting £4,979, prosecutors said.

Ms Bennett's remains have never been found.

'Sophisticated web'

Mrs Justice Carr said the defendants' "motive to kill was gain Lisa Bennett's state benefits into their own coffers".

"They both engaged in a sophisticated web of lies to pretend that she was alive again to divert police attention away from them," she said.

"Her body was thrown away like a piece of rubbish. Her family has not been able to bury her, have a grave to visit or a place to go and talk to Lisa Bennett."

David Parsons, of the Crown Prosecution Service, added: "They befriended Lisa Bennett and then callously cut her life short causing immeasurable pain for those who loved her."

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