Three sentenced for murder - Hertfordshire


Three people have today, Monday, 25 June 2012, been sentenced at St Albans Crown Court to a total of 77-years in prison for their part in the murder of a man whose body was found in a wooded area near Brookmans Park last year.

The three were found guilty on Friday, 22 June 2012, at St Albans Crown Court.

69-year-old Daniel Spires' body was found by a member of the public on 24 September 2011. It is believed he was killed at that location in June 2011.

Daniel Davies, aged 23, from Alma Road, St Albans, and Troy Schuldt, aged 19, of no fixed abode were found guilty of murder.  Schuldt had previously pleaded guilty to perverting the course of justice and obstructing the Coroner.  Davies was also found guilty of obstructing the Coroner.  They were given life sentences and are to serve a minimum of 28-years each.

Samantha Smith, aged 21, from Alma Road, St Albans was found guilty of murder and obstructing the Coroner.  She had previously pleaded guilty to two charges of assisting an offender (Davies and Schuldt).  She was sentenced to life imprisonment and is to serve a minimum of 21-years.

Judge Andrew Bright praised everyone involved in the case. He said: "This was a complicated and challenging investigation which was put together in an efficient way to be easily understood by the jury."

Baljit Ubhey OBE, Chief Crown Prosecutor for Thames and Chiltern Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said: "We have worked closely with the police in this case since this investigation was launched.  This was a tragic crime, which led to the untimely death of Daniel Spires.

"The jury have returned guilty verdicts for Daniel Davies, Troy Schuldt, and Samantha Smith.  The convictions mean that the jury was in no doubt that they were involved in the murder of Daniel, despite their denials.

"This murder was pre-meditated and carefully planned to avoid detection.  The motive was clearly for financial gain.  Davies and Schuldt believed that Mr Spires had £30,000 in a safe, but after killing him found that the safe was in fact empty except for a dollar bill.  Mr Spires had his wallet, keys, and a necklace on him when he was lured to his death.  These items were stolen from his body and Schuldt was seen on CCTV wearing the necklace within an hour of the murder.  This further highlights the despicable nature of these lawless people.  Other items including a van, jet wash, and computer were later stolen from Daniel Spires' home and part exchanged/sold.

"Daniel Spires' family had to hear at the trial how he died in horrific circumstances.

"As a result of the hard work and diligence of the prosecution team, a just outcome has been achieved for the victim and his family.  We hope that the convictions and sentences will in some way help the family come to terms with this tragic event.  Our thoughts are very much with them at this time."

Detective Inspector Jerome Kent from the Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire Major Crime Unit said: "This murder was fuelled purely by greed.  Daniel and Troy believed their victim had a large amount of money and that no-one would miss him.

"They made their plans and lured Daniel Spires to the woods and killed him, it was three months before his body was found.  When they realised there wasn't any money the defendants sold their victims' belongings.

"I would like to thank the families and witnesses who gave the police considerable support during this enquiry.  It is right that justice has been done and these three have received sentences which reflect the seriousness of their actions, whether they were involved in the planning, the murder or the disposal of his property."