Duo convicted of 'no body' murder

22/11/2012

Two men have been convicted of the murder of Merseyside man Paul Morson, whose body has still not been found.

Liverpool Crown Court heard that Raymond Brierly, 59, from Whiston, and John Burns, 34, from Huyton, carried out a vicious attack on Mr Morson in order to rob him. Another man, Scott Callaghan, 34, from Knotty Ash, was cleared of murder and the alternative charge of manslaugher, but convicted of perverting the course of justice.

Mr Morson was last seen on 8th June 2011. At 12.12 pm on that day he had called Burns. Twenty three seconds after ending the last call, Burns called Brierly and minutes later both men can be traced to Brierlys home, Church Lodge, Windy Arbour Road, Whiston, where it is believed Mr Morson was killed.

The court heard that the men lured Mr Morson to Church Lodge where Mr Morson was said to have been subjected to a sustained attack in an attempt to extort the location and combination of his safe. 

Traces of Mr Morson's blood were found in the kitchen area of the house in a pattern consistent with being struck by an instrument such as a hammer.  Forensic analysis also showed that plastic sheeting had been nailed to the wooden beams and skirting boards in the house, then removed, showing a disturbing level of planning.

Callaghan then used Mr Morson's van to drive to the victim's house, followed by Brierly in his car, to retrieve the safe and its contents.

Callaghan drove Mr Morson's van and dumped it close to Holmes Chapel, Cheshire. He was caught on CCTV later that day getting a taxi from nearby Crewe train station back to Liverpool.

After Mr Morson's disappearance all three defendants noticeably came into money £3,000 was deposited into Brierly's business account on the same day as the murder and Burns was captured on CCTV at a local casino in the days immediately after the 8th June where he lost £1,700. Callaghan was also seen with large amounts of cash.

Extensive 'Proof of life' enquires were carried out in the days and months after Mr Morson's disappearance but to no avail, and a murder investigation was launched.

Meanwhile, Brierly and Burns lied about their whereabouts at the time of Mr Morson's disappearance and all three continued to deny any involvement in his death

In evidence at court Mr Brierly said that he had killed Paul Morson, but claimed that he had been acting in self defence

He said that Mr Morson's body had been taken to an embankment near Runcorn Bridge, weighted down and dumped into the River Mersey.

Despite extensive searching the body has not been found

Nicky Davies, Crown Advocate from CPS Mersey-Cheshire, said: "The circumstantial evidence in this case was compelling and pointed to a clear conclusion that Mr Morson had been murdered sometime after meeting the defendants at Brierly's house - all for the sake of money.

"The convictions show that the jury agreed with this conclusion."

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