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Man who murdered scrap dealer and torched his caravan jailed for life

|News, Violent crime

A man has been jailed for life at Plymouth Crown Court today for the brutal murder of Geoffrey Pearce in Devon on 9 January 2020.

Lewis Finch, 31, struck Mr Pearce at least three times in the head with a heavy object, possibly a pick-axe or claw hammer, before suffocating him with a heavy cable tie. He then set fire to Mr Pearce’s caravan with the body inside. The attack took place in Newton Poppleford, around eight miles outside Exeter.

At some point during the attack, Finch made a phone call to his sister in which he stated that he had killed a man. That call was made from Geoffrey Pearce’s phone and when Lewis Finch’s sister called the number back, she heard Mr Pearce calling for help in the background.

When fire fighters reached the caravan they found it burnt to the ground with Mr Pearce’s remains inside.

Alex Allsop, of the CPS, said: "Lewis Finch claimed that he had killed Mr Pearce as a result of loss of control or diminished responsibility and so pleaded guilty to manslaughter.

“The CPS’s case was that Lewis Finch brutally murdered Mr Pearce and then set fire to his caravan in an attempt to destroy evidence. I would like to thank the witnesses who came forward in difficult circumstances to support our prosecution.

"This was a challenging case to prosecute, in which Mr Finch repeatedly changed his version of events in the face of the evidence presented. I am pleased that justice has been delivered for this brutal murder.”

Notes to editors

  • Alex Allsop is a Senior Crown Prosecutor for CPS South West
  • Lewis Finch was sentenced to life with a minimum tariff of 22 years.

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