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Student 'forced to drink petrol'

PUBLISHED: 11:33 07 July 2008 | UPDATED: 11:21 03 July 2010

A 17-year-old student whose remains were found in woodland near Great Yarmouth was tied to a tree and set on fire after being forced to drink petrol, a post mortem examination revealed.

A 17-year-old student whose remains were found in woodland near Great Yarmouth was tied to a tree and set on fire after being forced to drink petrol, a post mortem examination revealed.

On Friday, as a third person was remanded in custody accused of Simon Everitt's murder, Det Chief Insp Steve Strong said the results of the post mortem confirmed the Yarmouth College student had been taken to the village of Mautby, near Yarmouth, and subjected to the attack.

At a press conference at which the teenager's distraught father and step-mother pleaded for witnesses to come forward, Det Chief Insp Strong said: “Simon was made to drink petrol and the conclusion of the post mortem is that cause of death was the inhalation of a combustible fluid.”

He said his body had then been buried in a ditch and covered with soil.

Chief Insp Strong said: “I would appeal for anyone with information to come forward. In particular we are keen to hear from anyone who might have seen people acting suspiciously or spotted vehicles or cycles in the area of Church Lane, Corton, on June 7, or at Church Farm, Mautby, on June 7 or 8.”

The silver mountain bike Simon was seen riding on the A12 near the James Paget University Hospital, Gorleston, late on June 7 - the last reported sighting of him - was later found in Corton, near Lowestoft.

Simon's father Vince, who had set up a special website - www.missingson.wetpaint.com - to help in the search for his son, yesterday thanked everyone who had sent kind messages of support.

Reiterating Chief Insp Strong's appeal, he said: “Anyone who thinks they have got any information, however daft it might sound, please come forward and tell the police. We have to make sure this never happens to anyone again.”

His stepmother Sue said: “No one deserves to die like this. This could have been anyone's kid out there. Someone must know something.”

A full-scale murder inquiry, involving 20 officers, was launched about a week after the last sighting of Simon, who lived in a seafront bedsit, following a telephone tip-off from a member of the public.

A police forensic investigation team began a search of a wooded track at Church Farm, Mautby, on Friday last week and a body was discovered the following day.

Chief Insp Strong said yesterday that DNA evidence had yet to prove the body was that of Simon but he was “absolutely convinced” it was him.

At Yarmouth College on Friday, students joined in a two-minute silence for Simon and another engineering student Matthew Eckett who was killed in a crash earlier this week.

College assistant principal Julie Howard described Simon as a “motivated student who consistently demonstrated a positive attitude in class”.

Engineering student Cove Smith said Simon had been a “good friend who did a lot for other people”.

“He was good at what he did and helped me a lot in class. He will be sadly missed,” he said.

Jimi Lee Stewart, 24, of no fixed abode, became the third person to be remanded in custody by the town's magistrates accused of murdering Simon.

He will next appear at Norwich Crown Court on July 14 alongside Maria Chandler, 40, of Lancaster Road, Yarmouth, and Johnathan Clarke, 19, of Queen Elizabeth Way, Telford, Shropshire, formerly of Nelson Road South, Yarmouth, who were charged with murder and remanded in custody earlier in the week.

Clarke, who was arrested on Tuesday at the home of his partner Kelli Glover, who is expecting their fifth child, is also accused of assaulting Simon on June 6 - the day before he was last seen - and possessing an offensive weapon, namely a rounders bat, on the same day.

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