One of Cambridgeshire's oddest traditions gets under way this morning...
Three Jailed For Geoffrey Reed Murder
Three men convicted of killing a Boscombe man and then buried him in a shallow grave in woodland have been sentenced to life in prison.
Stuart Raymond Wareham of Bournemouth, aged 26, his half brother Lee Raymond Wareham, 33, and 22-year-old Benjamin Henry Walter, both of no fixed abode, killed Geoffrey Reed in his flat on Cecil Road in Boscombe in 2012.
Stuart has been sentenced to 20 years behind bars, and Lee and Benjamin were both given 18 years.
Geoffrey Reed, 57, was hit with an object like a hammer and then stamped and kicked on in his ground floor flat in Bournemouth by the trio.
Frail Reed, who allowed the men to stay or visit his flat, suffered ''enormous injuries'' with fractures to his head, ribs and sternum and a broken neck, the trial at Winchester Crown Court was told.
After the murder Stuart Wareham, 26, boasted in a letter from prison that ''there's one more paedo off the street so he can't prey on anymore little kids''.
During the four-week trial the jury were told that Stuart Wareham had found some paperwork detailing that Reed had served 10 years for four counts of rape on two vulnerable victims - one of them a child - after the men had met in a bail hostel.
The prosecution said this was a motive in the murder and also that the men wanted Reed's benefits but when he died he only had £2.56.
The men launched the fatal attack on June 7 last year and the trio put eight-stone Reed in a suitcase that the jury saw Stuart Wareham on CCTV carry one-handed out of the flat.
Stuart Wareham then asked his sister to drive him and Benjamin Walter, 22, to their grandmother's house in Lytchett Matravers - 13 miles away - and said there was a dead dog in the suitcase he wanted to bury there, the court heard.
Meanwhile Lee Wareham, 33, left the house with several bags and dumped Reed's clothes while the other men buried him in a shallow grave.
Another man Danny Anderson was living in the flat and he called police three days later fearing the men had killed Reed. Specialist dogs found him buried in woodland.
During the trial each man blamed another for the killing.
Simon Jones, Senior Crown Advocate for CPS Wessex said:
“This was a sad case that led to the murder of a vulnerable and frail man.”
“Geoffrey Reed weighed just eight stones and was in ill heath when he was murdered in the middle of the day on Thursday 7th June 2012 in his own home.
"His body was then taken approximately 13 miles, in a suitcase, to a shallow grave in the woods at Lytchett Matravers, west of Poole.
“Mr Reed originally met Stuart Wareham at St Paul’s Direct Access Hostel after his release from prison. He was the tenant of a one bedroom flat and on occasions he let Stuart Wareham and Benjamin Walter stay there.
"By the time of the murder they had virtually moved in. Lee Wareham is the half brother of Stuart and visited the flat a few times.
“In March last year, Stuart Wareham found out why Mr Reed had been in prison and he assaulted him. On the day of his death, Benjamin Walter took him to the Nationwide Building Society to withdraw money out of his account.
"When they returned to the flat it was the last time Mr Reed was seen alive. While it is true that Mr Reed was a convicted sex offender this cannot justify the brutal attack on him and from which he died.”
“There was an immediate cover up to the murder. Benjamin Walter put Mr Reed’s jacket on and left the flat. This was to make it look as if he had left to go to Weymouth; a lie that was told to the police when the body had not yet been discovered. Lee Wareham later discarded the jacket in a near by shed.
"Stuart Wareham and Benjamin Walter also put his body into a suitcase. It was initially claimed that it was a dead dog which they wanted to bury at Wareham’s grandmother’s property at Lytchett Matravers. The men borrowed spades and a fork and made their way into woods nearby where they dug a shallow grave and put the suitcase with the body in it.
“The Crown Prosecution Service and Dorset Police have worked as a highly effective team to secure these convictions. We hope this outcome allows those involved to feel a sense of closure following the distressing events of last June.”
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