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Dangerous men convicted for killing and dismembering woman

|News, Violent crime , Sexual offences

Two men have been convicted today (9 November 2020) for their involvement in the murder and dismemberment of a Dudley woman in 2019.

Nathan Maynard-Ellis, 30, and his boyfriend, 25-year-old David Leesley, were found guilty at Coventry Crown Court for killing and dismembering Julia Rawson.

Maynard-Ellis was also found guilty of four rapes, an attempted rape and a threat to kill.

By chance on 11 May 2019, Julia Rawson met Nathan Maynard-Ellis when she took the wrong bus home and ended up at the Bottle and Cork Public House, New Mill Street in Dudley. They chatted and she went back to his flat in Mission Drive, Tipton, by taxi. At the apartment, Maynard-Ellis and Leesley killed Miss Rawson, dismembered her body and disposed of her remains in black bags in land adjacent to a nearby canal.

Later, Julia Rawson was reported missing, police discovered her body parts five weeks later. Police traced her last steps to the defendants' flat. Forensic evidence placed Julia Rawson at the flat, and both men were arrested for her murder.

During the police investigation, an ex-partner of Maynard-Ellis came forward to reveal that she had been raped and sexually assaulted by him many years ago; and he threatened to kill her. The account she gave provided striking similarities in details discovered by the police surrounding the murder, dismemberment and disposal of Julia Rawson, which included a link in time between the date of the break-up of their relationship and her death.

James L Francis of the CPS said: "The details that led to Julia Rawson's death remain unknown, but the facts support the Crown's case that Nathan Maynard-Ellis and David Leesley are extremely dangerous individuals and were responsible for her death. They lied many times throughout the investigation to avoid detection for the allegation of murder, but we were able to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that both Maynard-Ellis and Leesley murdered Julia Rawson, their conviction will protect others from future harm. I want to pay tribute to the surviving victim in this case for the strength and determination that she has shown to ensure justice was served for her and Julia Rawson. Thanks to her bravery, others will now be protected from these dangerous men."

Building the case

While only the defendants know precisely what transpired in that flat on 12 May 2019, forensic evidence supported the prosecution case that Julia Rawson had been murdered in that flat and both men had tried to hide the crime.

At the onset of the investigation, police discovered that the defendants' had removed furniture and replaced sections of the living room carpet. However, washed traces of Julia Rawson's blood were found on the floor under the new underlay and carpet. When the sofa in the living room was examined, they found staining along one edge of a cushion with blood that had come from Julia Rawson.

The defendants also disposed of their clothing in a garden incinerator at the home of Maynard-Ellis' mother. Blood from Julia Rawson was found on a pair of burnt grey fleece shorts.

The CPS was able to prove the case as a result of the presence of multiple strands of evidence that included details provided by a complaint made by an ex-partner of Maynard-Ellis, CCTV footage showing the movements of the victim and Maynard-Ellis, scientific evidence proving the presence of the victim's blood on floorboards inside the defendants' flat, expert evidence detailing the examination of the dismembered remains of the victim and admissions made by Maynard-Ellis and lies told by Leesley.

Notes to editors

  • James L Francis is District Crown Prosecutor for CPS West Midlands
  • Nathan Maynard-Ellis was convicted of one count of murder; one count of threat to kill; one count of concealment, destruction or disposal of a corpse; four counts of rape; and one count of attempted rape.

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