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Tuesday, 2 February 2010

Stephen Marshall, 38, admitted having butchered the bodies of four other men while working as a doorman for a London nightclub

09:48 | , ,

Stephen Marshall, 38, also admitted having butchered the bodies of four other men while working as a doorman for a London nightclub run by gangsters in the 1990s. Police will reopen a number of cold cases involving missing people and body parts found in the past 15 years.Described as both "charming" and "highly volatile", Marshall will serve a minimum of 36 years for murdering Jeffrey Howe and then scattering his body parts across two counties before emptying his bank account and selling his possessions. His 21-year-old girlfriend, Sarah Bush, was sentenced to three years and nine months for helping Marshall cover up the murder.
Howe's body had been so expertly dismembered that pathologists who examined the macabre finds correctly concluded that the person responsible must have "previous experience of such activity". St Albans crown court heard that Marshall had previously boasted that he used to cut up and bury bodies on behalf of the notorious Adams family, who ran a crime empire in north London. One witness told the jury that Marshall worked as a bouncer for the family and would carry out "additional jobs after hours" – decapitating and dismembering murder victims and burying them without a trace.
Today Marshall's barrister Peter Doyle, QC, told the jury his client had described between 1995 and 1998 working as a doorman at clubs where on four occasions he had been asked to assist in the dismemberment of four unidentified men who had been killed earlier and brought to the clubs during the night. Doyle said Marshall had thought it "sensible" not to ask questions, and following the chopping up of the bodies the parts would be collected by others and taken to Epping Forest in north-east London and buried.After sentencing it emerged that Marshall had a string of previous convictions, including one for battering his first wife in 2003. He was also arrested on suspicion of murdering Minesh Nagrecha, whose corpse was disfigured and burnt when found by police in 1996. Marshall was never charged with the crime, instead appearing as a witness.

When the trial opened three weeks ago Marshall denied being the murderer, instead blaming Bush, a "vulnerable" young sex worker who had given birth to the first of her three children just a few days after her 15th birthday. But in a dramatic about-turn last week Marshall changed his plea and admitted being responsible for the whole crime.Sentencing him, the judge, Mr Justice Cooke, said that Marshall, a heavy cocaine user, now admitted stabbing Howe twice on March 8 last year. The judge said Marshall carried out the murder in a "muddled and no doubt drug-befuddled state" as Howe lay sleeping in bed in his house in Southgate, north London, which he shared with the couple.Today Bush finally admitted perverting the course of justice by helping Marshall cover up Howe's murder. She said she was with Marshall when he dumped Howe's head, unwrapped, in a field near Ashfordby in Leicestershire.
She admitted misleading police and friends of Howe by claiming he had simply "upped and left" while secretly using his money to buy shoes, a laptop, takeaways and other goodsHer barrister told the judge she was "terrified" of Marshall and helped him because she was scared of becoming his next victim. To Bush, the judge said: "You were well aware of what Stephen Marshall had done. You took advantage of Mr Howe in life and then after his death you used his money."Bush was acquitted of murdering Howe but pleaded guilty to helping to dispose of his body parts and giving false information about his whereabouts when police were investigating his disappearance.She was sentenced to three years and nine months for the first offence and to two years and three months for the second one, with the two terms to run concurrently.
She received a relatively lenient sentence because of her upbringing. The court heard she had spent most of her life in care before falling into prostitution and that her first baby died when he was 10 days old. After the verdict, police admitted being "quite surprised" when Marshall's previous involvement in dismembering bodies was aired in court.Detective Superintendent Michael Hanlon, who was in charge of the investigation, said Marshall would be visited in prison and asked to expand on the 11th-hour admissions made moments before his life sentence was handed to him.
Parts of Howe's body began turning up last March, a few days after Marshall had stabbed him to death. Police quickly realised they were dealing with a murder victim whose identity at the time was not known. As more pieces were discovered the victim became known as the "jigsaw man".
Howe's hands have not been found and police say they hope Marshall will show "decency" to the victim's family by giving their location. After the verdict Howe's family issued a statement that described him as a "a jovial, charming character who had a heart of gold". They said they would never be able to comprehend "Jeffrey's death and the macabre actions of those who killed him".

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