Sussex

Janet Muller death: Christopher Jeffrey-Shaw guilty of manslaughter

Christopher Jeffrey-Shaw Image copyright Sussex Police
Image caption Christopher Jeffrey-Shaw told the court he was ordered to set fire to the car

A man has been found guilty of the manslaughter of a student whose body was found in the boot of a burnt-out car near a golf course in West Sussex.

Christopher Jeffrey-Shaw, 27, of Lakeside, Beckenham, south-east London was found not guilty of murdering 21-year-old German national Janet Muller.

Miss Muller's body was found in the boot of a burnt-out Volkswagen Jetta near Ifield Golf Club on 13 March.

Jeffrey-Shaw will be sentenced at Guildford Crown Court on Friday.

He had admitted setting the car alight but denied murder, claiming he did not know Brighton University student Miss Muller was in the car boot.

Jeffrey-Shaw told the court he had been mixed up with drug dealers who borrowed his hire car for a robbery which went wrong, then ordered him to set fire to the vehicle.

Image copyright Sussex Police
Image caption The body of Janet Muller was found in the burnt-out Volkswagen Jetta near Ifield Golf Club in West Sussex

The court heard how Jeffrey-Shaw picked Miss Muller up in Brighton in a car in the early hours of 13 March.

She had been a patient at Millfield Hospital, a mental health unit in Hove, since 3 March but absconded twice on 12 March.

The vehicle was set on fire in a country lane off Rusper Road, Ifield. Miss Muller had been beaten and died in the fire.

Jeffrey-Shaw fled to a nearby hotel, called a taxi and returned to London.

A few days later he handed himself into a police station after an appeal was made for him to contact police.

Following the verdict, Miss Muller's family said they were not happy that the verdict was manslaughter rather than murder.

"We are glad that the man responsible for Janet's death will not walk free but nothing can erase the loss of Janet," they said.

Image copyright Eddie Mitchell
Image caption The court heard Miss Muller died in the fire

A spokesman for the University of Brighton said Miss Muller was a bright, sparky and witty student who loved football.

"She was academically able and her lecturers all believed she had a bright future ahead of her," he said.

"Her loss has been felt widely across the university community and she will not be forgotten."

Image copyright BBC news grab
Image caption The burn-out car was found dumped near Ifield Golf Club in West Sussex

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