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Trio guilty of petrol murder of 17-year-old

PUBLISHED: 16:13 29 May 2009 | UPDATED: 14:02 03 July 2010

Simon Everitt - murdered

Simon Everitt - murdered

Jimi-Lee Stewart, Jonathan Clarke and Maria Chandler were all today found guilty of the brutal murder of teenager Simon Everitt. The jury of 11 took more than 21 hours of deliberations to decide that all three murdered the 17-year-old, whose body had been doused with petrol before being set alight.

Jimi-Lee Stewart, Jonathan Clarke and Maria Chandler.

Jimi-Lee Stewart, Jonathan Clarke and Maria Chandler were all today found guilty of the brutal murder of teenager Simon Everitt.

The jury of 11 took more than 21 hours of deliberations to decide that all three murdered the 17-year-old, whose body had been doused with petrol before being set alight. The teen had also been made to drink petrol.

Maria Chandler, 40, from Lancaster Road in Yarmouth, Stewart, 25, from Nelson Road Central in Yarmouth and Clarke, 20, from Telford all denied murdering the Yarmouth College engineering student. Stewart was found guilty of murder unanimously by the jury and the other two defendants on a 10-1 majority.

The body of the teen, who lived in a bedsit in Yarmouth seafront, was found in a ditch in Mautby Woods near Yarmouth on June 28 last year and a post mortem examination revealed he had been tied to a tree, made to drink petrol and set on fire.

The discovery followed a high profile missing person's inquiry lasting several weeks.

His body was badly decomposed and had to be identified using DNA techniques.

Police later established he had been beaten, tied to a tree, doused in petrol and set on fire. Norwich Crown Court heard that the 17-year-old and defendants Jonathan Clarke and Jimi-Lee Stewart had all been in relationships with the same girl, Fiona Statham. Prosecutors said the two male defendants were motivated by “sexual jealousy”.

Stewart had claimed that he intended to scare Mr Everitt but not kill him. Maria Chandler said she had been forced to go along with the plan and feared for her own life. Clarke denied any involvement.

The court heard that Stewart had lured Mr Everitt to a layby near Corton on the pretence he wanted to introduce him to a female friend. It was there that they set about him and bundled him into the boot of Chandler's car.

Police were alerted to what happened when Stewart made a tearful confession to his mother, Susan Lewis. Ms Lewis said she had no option but to contact the police.

A trawl of CCTV cameras found footage of all three defendants filling a petrol can at a garage near Yarmouth. A number of people in the town reported that Clarke had been boasting about what he did.

More on the verdicts will appear shortly on this website.

For a full report into the brutal killings see Saturday's EDP.

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