Michael Beckwith murder: Former girlfriend jailed for 17 years

Image source, Essex Police
Image caption,
Rebecca Ryan and Scott Swift (pictured) plotted to kill Michael Beckwith

A woman who lured her former boyfriend to a remote spot where he was battered to death with metal poles has been jailed for at least 17 years.

Michael Beckwith, 44, died last August after being subjected to a "violent, cowardly" attack in Harwich, Essex.

His ex, Rebecca Ryan, 22, was convicted of murder last month, alongside 27-year-old Scott Swift, who was sentenced to 24 years at Chelmsford Crown Court.

Joseph Smith, 18, will serve 12 years after being convicted of manslaughter.

Jailing Ryan and Swift for life, Judge Charles Gratwicke said it was "not a spur-of-the-moment attack" , and Mr Beckwith "stood no chance".

"He delivered himself into the the trap you and Ryan had set for him," the judge said.

Ryan, of Hilltop Rise, Weeley, had asked Mr Beckwith to meet her in an area known as Radar Tower in Barrack Lane, Harwich, on 31 July.

Before he died from his injuries in hospital, he managed to tell police some of what had happened.

Image caption,
Police sealed off Barrack Lane in Harwich
Image source, Essex Police
Image caption,
Keen fisherman Michael Beckwith worked at a residential home for mental health patients

Ryan's former boyfriend, Swift, a care assistant from Station Road, Dovercourt, had also denied murdering Mr Beckwith.

Smith, from Canning Street, Harwich, pleaded guilty to manslaughter during the trial but this was not accepted by the prosecution. The jury found him not guilty of murder but convicted him of the manslaughter of Mr Beckwith.

Triston and Enderlein Biddlecombe, from Harwich, who destroyed evidence and provided a false alibi, were jailed for two-and-a-half-years for perverting the course of justice, with a three-month concurrent sentence for assisting an offender.

In a statement, Mr Beckwith's family described him as a "gentle giant" who "would judge no-one and was considerate to all".

He was the main carer for his mother, Iris, who died from a heart attack before the trial of his killers began.

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