Three found guilty of killing Lee Gillespie - High Wycombe

16/03/2016

Three people have today, Wednesday, 16 March 2016, been found guilty at Reading Crown Court of killing Lee Gillespie in High Wycombe last August.

Following a seven week trial, Martin Stanislaus, aged 38, of Delta Grove, Northolt, Ealing, was found guilty of murder, possession of a knife blade/sharp pointed article in a public place, and perverting the course of justice.

Jodie Willis, aged 36, of The Mead, Beaconsfield, was found guilty of murder and perverting the course of justice.

Leigh Burns, aged 38, of Willcott Road, Ealing, was found guilty of manslaughter. He was found not guilty of murder and perverting the course of justice.

At about 8.50pm on 22 August 2015, police were called to All Saints Church in Church Square, High Wycombe, to reports of a man having been stabbed.

The ambulance service also attended and sadly the victim, 26-year-old Lee Gillespie from High Wycombe, was declared deceased at the scene. A post mortem concluded that the cause of death was multiple stab wounds.

Adrian Foster, Chief Crown Prosecutor for Thames and Chiltern Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said: "This case involved the tragic murder of 26-year-old Lee Gillespie in High Wycombe last August.

"Just before 9pm on Saturday, 22 August 2015, Lee was set upon by Martin Stanislaus in the churchyard of All Saints Church and brutally and repeatedly stabbed and killed. Stanislaus had been led to the churchyard by Leigh Burns and the revenge attack had been arranged by Lee's disgruntled ex-girlfriend, Jodie Willis. Stanislaus, also an ex-partner of Willis, inflamed by allegations made by Willis about Lee, made a special trip from his home in London, armed with a large knife, to High Wycombe to carry out the execution. After the incident, they attempted to impede the police investigation by concealing evidence including their clothing and the murder weapon. Although it was Stanislaus that inflicted the fatal blows, Willis and Burns played significant roles in the attack, which led to the untimely death of Lee. They all acted jointly, together, and are clearly extremely ruthless and violent individuals.

"Stanislaus answered 'no comment' during four police interviews, Willis denied having intended or instructed any harm towards Lee, and Burns denied playing any part or encouraging the stabbing.  Stanislaus and Willis denied murder and perverting the course of justice, but have been found guilty despite their denials. Burns also denied both counts, but was found guilty of the alternative count of manslaughter. He was found not guilty of murder and perverting the course of justice.

"This case represents a tragedy for Lee's family and friends who have been devastated by his death. The witnesses were utterly unprepared for what they saw, acted courageously on the night of the incident and have given evidence in very difficult circumstances. In particular, I would like to mention the bravery displayed by Tom Rose, who intervened during the stabbing, and his extreme efforts to save Lee's life despite the obvious risks to himself. I would like to pay tribute to Lee's family and friends and the witnesses for their wholehearted support of the investigation and prosecution.

"We have worked closely with Thames Valley Police since this investigation was launched and as a result of the hard work and diligence of the prosecution team, a just outcome has been achieved.  We know that nothing will bring Lee back to his family and friends, but we hope that today's convictions bring them at least a small sense that justice has been done. Our thoughts are very much with them all at this time."

Senior investigating officer, Detective Chief Inspector Ailsa Kent from the Thames Valley Police Major Crime Unit, said: "Lee Gillespie was killed in a brutal attack by three people while he was in a busy town centre on a Saturday night.

"We will never be able to fully understand what motivated Stanislaus, Burns and Willis to commit such a dreadful act, but it is clear that the former relationship between Willis and Gillespie had some bearing on the events of that night.

"Willis and her former partner, Stanislaus, travelled to Wycombe on that Saturday evening and were led to Lee Gillespie by Burns. The three of them chased Lee Gillespie down to a churchyard and Willis and Burns not only stood by and watched, but encouraged Stanislaus to inflict the fatal violence on Lee Gillespie.

"Back at Willis' home, Stanislaus removed his bloodied clothing and bagged it up with the knife hiding them in the garden where the items were later found by police. Willis also changed her clothing after the attack, and discarded her distinctive flowing green dress in some undergrowth near the place where she spent the night in High Wycombe.

"There is nothing that can bring Lee back, but I hope that the convictions of Stanislaus, Willis and Burns today will help Lee's loved ones as they come to terms with their loss. I would like to thank Lee's family for their courage and support throughout the investigation, the officers and CPS who worked on the case, the witnesses for giving evidence and the jury for their careful consideration of the facts."