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York river murder: Man jailed for 2007 killing

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image copyrightNorth Yorkshire Police
image captionDavid Roustoby told friends he killed David Clarke by strangling him

A man has been jailed for life for the murder of a man found floating in a river near York 13 years ago.

David Clarke, 43, was found dead in the River Foss, near the village of Towthorpe, North Yorkshire, in 2007.

An inquest ruled he had drowned, but in 2019 David Roustoby was caught on video telling friends he had strangled Mr Clarke before dumping his body.

Roustoby, of Rawcliffe Lane, York, was convicted of murder at Leeds Crown Court and jailed for at least 19 years.

His former girlfriend, Sharon Houlden, was jailed for assisting an offender.

During the trial jurors heard Mr Clarke was found floating face down more than four miles from his home in York.

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image copyrightNorth Yorkshire Police
image captionDavid Clarke was found dead in the River Foss in April 2007.

The pathologist concluded the circumstances were consistent with drowning and found Mr Clarke, who had problems with alcohol and depression, had been heavily intoxicated at the time.

A coroner later ruled Mr Clarke had died by drowning, with alcohol intoxication a contributing factor.

However, the court heard Roustoby , 45, confessed to friends in 2019 to giving Mr Clarke alcohol and prescription drugs before strangling him with a tie.

He said Houlden helped drive Mr Clarke's body to Haxby where it was dumped in the river.

Roustoby claimed he had concocted the confession to impress his friends, but jurors heard he revealed details only known at the time to police.

He was convicted of murder after a trial.

image copyrightNorth Yorkshire Police
image captionSharon Houlden was jailed for two years and eight months

Houlden, 50, also known as Sharon Roustoby, of Rowntree Avenue, York, was jailed for two years and eight months after she admitted assisting an offender.

Claire Harris from the Crown Prosecution Service said: "For 13 years David Roustoby believed he had literally got away with murder.

"Justice has now been served and Roustoby is now serving a life sentence with a minimum term of 19 years.

"I hope this brings some comfort to Mr Clarke's family."

In a statement, Mr Clarke's family said: "David can no longer enjoy the things he loved such as playing chess and watching football. His life was stolen from him and he did not deserve it".

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Related Topics

  • Haxby
  • York

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