Sussex

Mark Manning manslaughter: Colin Gale convicted of Sussex killing

Colin Gale Image copyright Sussex Police
Image caption Colin Gale admitting striking Mr Manning but said it was in self-defence

A man who bludgeoned a former bomb disposal expert to death in a row over a debt before dumping his body has been convicted of manslaughter.

Colin Gale, 40, from Worthing, West Sussex, denied murdering Mark Manning, saying he had acted in self-defence.

He was found guilty at Lewes Crown Court of manslaughter, having admitted preventing the lawful burial of Mr Manning's body.

Stewart Robertson, 50, was found guilty of preventing the lawful burial.

Mr Manning, 54, a father of two who used to work for a charity that helped clear mines in some of the world's poorest countries, had been reported missing in April 2014 after failing to meet his son, as arranged.

Image copyright Sussex Police
Image caption Mark Manning worked for a charity that helped clear mines in some of the world's poorest countries

Det Ch Insp Mike Ashcroft, who led the investigation into his disappearance, said after the verdicts that Gale had concocted a story about dropping his former friend at a railway station.

"He has put Mark's family through a living nightmare," he said. "He not only killed Mark but destroyed his family's lives as a result."

Gale, of Offington Lane, Worthing, was arrested on suspicion of murder in May 2015 and formally charged in January 2016.

Image copyright Sussex Police
Image caption Stewart Robertson was found guilty of helping dispose of the body

It was only after his associate, Robertson, was rearrested in May 2016 that police discovered where Mr Manning had been buried.

Robertson, of St Aubyns Road, Portslade, took police to the woodland site in Slaugham, West Sussex, where his remains were recovered.

The court heard that Gale had hit Mr Manning, who bought and sold cars, with a wrench at his garage in Lancing during a row over money he owed him.

He claimed he was protecting himself.

Gale and Robertson will be sentenced later this month.

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