Man jailed for life for killing a vulnerable woman and burning her remains

20/10/2017

A man who brutally murdered a vulnerable young woman and set fire to her body has been sentenced to life in prison to serve a minimum of 21 years after admitting his guilt.

Craig Procter, 40, from Ellesmere Port appeared at Liverpool Crown Court on 16 October 2017 to face a six week trial, but changed his plea to guilty on his first appearance.

He was sentenced for the murder of Ellia Arathoon, 29, from Ellesmere Port today (17 October 2017).

Ellia was last seen at a party with Procter on 28 October 2016 by friends. The pair left in the early hours of the following morning and made their way to the defendant’s house.

This was the last time she was seen alive, her remains being found five days later in a wooded area by the M53 following an extensive search by police.

The search was sparked after Procter told a family member and his ex-partner that he had killed Ellia and they alerted police.

Procter was arrested and, as the investigation progressed, further damning information came in from the community.

Sara Drysdale, Senior Crown Prosecutor with Mersey-Cheshire Crown Prosecution Service, said: “Ellia Arathoon was murdered in the most brutal way in a senseless act of extreme violence.

“In the hours leading up to the tragedy, Ellia and Mr Procter had been to a house party together.

“They returned to Mr Procter’s house and there he subjected her to a repeated assault, possibly with a glass object which broke during the incident.

“Blood staining and glass fragments were found in his living room and there was evidence of attempts to clean the area and move furniture to conceal the blood staining.

“On the morning and afternoon after this, CCTV from around Ellesmere Port captured his movements.

“He withdrew money from a cash machine, was seen in the street by a witness who knew him, apparently drunk, and later that day he pawned a TV at Cash Converters.

“That evening he then confessed what he had done to his ex-partner telling her initially, 'We’ve killed her. Just one hit, I hit her with the glass".

“In the early hours of the next morning he was captured on CCTV, heading towards a local canal with a suitcase.

“Ellia’s body was inside that suitcase. Mr Procter took her to some woods near to the canal, doused her in petrol from his quad bike and set fire to her body.

“Mr Procter initially sought to blame someone else for his crimes. He tried to blame his housemate and then told the police that a mystery man had come into his house and murdered Ellia, forcing him to clean up and dispose of Ellia’s body.“His story repeatedly changed every time the Police confronted him with evidence they’d obtained.

“He has now pleaded guilty and this case has been brought to a swifter conclusion than might have been the case.

“The Crown Prosecution Service hopes that this of some comfort to Ellia’s family and our thoughts remain with them at this dreadful time.”