Clacton murder: Couple beat man to death and set fire to flat

Freya Parker-Magowan and Seth Stollery Image copyright Essex Police
Image caption Freya Parker-Magowan and Seth Stollery "brutally" murdered Paul Gillett

A couple who beat a man to death and then set fire to his flat in a bid to cover their crime have been convicted of murder.

Paul Gillett, 54, was found dead in the bath at a flat in Clacton, Essex, on Boxing Day last year following a fire.

Seth Stollery, 48, and Freya Parker-Magowan, 44, were convicted of his killing at Chelmsford Crown Court.

Parker-Magowan was also found guilty of arson with recklessness, which Stollery had previously plead guilty to.

The pair, of no fixed address, will be sentenced on 5 August.

Image copyright Essex Police
Image caption Paul Gillett was found dead in his bath tub

Parker-Magowan had moved in with Mr Gillett the week before Christmas having broken up with Stollery before the pair reconciled, Essex Police said.

They had gone to the flat to collect Parker-Magowan's belongings at about midnight on Christmas Day and stayed there for several hours, subjecting Mr Gillett to an assault which led to his death, the force added.

Both defendants admitted they were the only people in the flat at the time of the killing but claimed the other had been responsible.

They also claimed the argument had been over an iPad Mr Gillett had stolen and sold.

Image caption A police cordon was put in place at the scene in Station Road, Clacton-on-Sea

Det Ch Insp Stuart Truss said: "Seth Stollery and Freya Parker-McGowan acted together to kill Paul Gillett in his own home.

"The attack he suffered was brutal and the pair tried to cover their tracks by setting fire to his home."

He described Mr Gillett as "a quiet man, who was liked within the flats at which he lived".

"Stollery and Parker-Magowan took advantage of his nature. They brutally and needlessly murdered him before trying to callously cover their tracks," he added.

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