Man convicted of murder and sentenced to life imprisonment

28/05/2009

After a trial which commenced on 27 April 2009, Oral Seaton has today (28 May) been convicted by a majority verdict of 10/2 of the murder of Winston Dowe-Stephenson. He was sentenced at Luton Crown Court to life imprisonment with a minimum term of 18 year

CPS Crown Advocate, Jeremy Taylor, said afterwards: "This was a difficult case where the police carried out a very thorough and detailed investigation. Both the CPS and the police worked closely to investigate this case and prepare it for court. It was especially difficult for the family of Mr Dowe-Stephenson who had to deal with circumstances that were traumatic, but at all times they acted with honour and dignity. Our thoughts remain with them".

Background:

On 25 September 2008 a friend attended the home address of the deceased, Mr Winston Dowe-Stephenson, where he discovered the body. A police investigation immediately started and it was found Mr Dowe-Stephenson had died as a result of over 117 puncture and incised wounds, which had been caused by the use of more than one weapon.

A detailed examination of the scene took place and also of Mr Dowe-Stephenson's lifestyle and financial background. In the meantime a statement was taken from Mr Oral Seaton, a known friend of the deceased, in which he stated that he had returned from Germany shortly before midnight on 24 September and that he had driven from Stansted Airport to Woolhampton in Berkshire and would have known nothing of what had happened.

As a result of the forensic examination of the scene, spots of blood were found that matched Mr Seaton-they include blood drops outside the home of Mr Dowe-Stephenson and which were known to have been recent due to wet weather conditions at the time.

This finding led to Mr Seaton being treated as a suspect and he was arrested on suspicion of murder. On his arrest it was noted that he had a number of small cuts to both hands. It had also been ascertained that he owed Mr Dowe-Stephenson a large sum of money in respect of a property purchase in Turkey. Further investigations found that the vehicle he had been driving was seen heading away from Luton on the southbound M1 motorway in the early hours of the morning of the crime.

Seaton was interviewed on a number of occasions and made no comment save to say that he had received the injury to his right hand at Stansted Airport. He was to resile from that explanation by the time of trial claiming it had occurred at Lubeck Airport in Germany.

After consultation between the CPS and the police, Seaton was charged with the offence of murder and subsequently remanded in custody. The detailed and thorough police investigation continued and it was ascertained that Seaton would have had in his possession a mobile phone belonging to Mr Dowe-Stephenson, which was an important part of the evidence in the subsequent trial.

Subsequent examination of computers belonging to both men revealed SKYPE communications including written conversations in which the defendant compounded the lies he had told about his movements in the hours prior to the murder.

Media enquiries to Tim Riley on 01582 816648

Notes to Editors

1. The Crown Prosecution Service is the authority responsible for prosecuting criminal cases investigated by the police in England and Wales. It is responsible for:

  • Advising the police and reviewing the evidence on cases for possible prosecution
  • Deciding the charge where the decision is to prosecute
  • Preparing cases for court
  • Presenting cases at court

2. The CPS consists of 42 Areas in total, each headed by a Chief Crown Prosecutor (CCP). A telephone service, CPS Direct, provides out-of-hours advice and decisions to police officers across England and Wales. The CPS employs around 8,400 people and prosecuted 1,091,250 cases with an overall conviction rate of 83.7% in 2006-2007. Further information can be found on our website: www.cps.gov.uk

3. The CPS, together with ACPO and media representatives, has developed a Protocol for the release of prosecution material to the media.  This sets out the type of prosecution material that will normally be released, or considered for release, together with the factors we will take into account when considering requests.  The Protocol is published on our website at: http://www.cps.gov.uk/publications/agencies/mediaprotocol.html