Tuesday 26 September 2017

Ex-marine who murdered London neighbour turned away by police when he tried to confess

AN ex-marine who murdered his neighbour was twice turned away by police after handing himself in and confessing to the crime when officers refused to believe him.

Thomas Puxty tortured neighbour Lee Clement into giving him his PIN number at his home in Woolwich, south London, after finding out he had £93,000 in his bank account.

After tying the dad-of-three up Puxty then used a 'pressure point technique' he learned in the Marines to kill him before dumping his body in woodland in Kent in March 2006.

The 31-year-old former Royal Marine then went on a spending spree, splashing out more than £50,000 on motorbikes, TVs and flash watches, before becoming 'overcome with guilt' and handing himself into Plumstead Police station in March 2010.

But at a hearing of the Court of Appeal in London it was revealed that Puxty was twice turned away by officers who refused believe he was a killer.

He was only arrested when he 'demanded' a police interview and refused to leave the police station.

The killer, who admitted manslaughter claiming he didn't mean to kill his victim, then took cops to a remote spot in woods near Ashford, Kent, where he had buried his 60-year-old victim's body in a shallow grave.

He was jailed for life at Kingston Crown Court in December last year after being found guilty of murdering dad-of-three Mr Clements - who had never been reported missing - and told he would serve a minimum of 28 years behind bars.

But at the appeal court hearing last week the details of his confession to police was heard for the first time and his sentence was reduced by two years after the court heard how Puxty had 'put himself behind bars'.

Kerim Fuad QC, defending, told the court: "The police thought he (Puxty) was wasting their time.

"He was allowed to smoke outside for an hour or two before coming back inside but was sent away twice.

"He could have walked away.

"It was his sheer persistence in demanding an interview which led to him taking the police down to where he had buried Mr Clement some years earlier."

Lord Justice Elias told the court that Puxty had 'fallen into alcoholism' because of his guilt and cut Puxty's minimum tariff from 28 years to 26 as he had 'effectively solved his own crime'.

The judge said: "The confession suggests an acceptance by the appellant of what he has done.

"It demonstrates a wish to come to terms with his own conscience and to be willing to pay the price that society requires.

"There is no doubt at all that the confession in this case resulted in a conviction which never otherwise would have happened.

"Only the defendant knew the deceased was dead, only the defendant knew he had been killed and only the defendant knew where he was buried.", the Kent Messenger reported.

In a statement from the Met released after Puxty was found guilty of murder in December last year it made no reference to Puxty being turned away from Plumstead police station.

It stated: "In March 2010 following his release from prison on other matters, Puxty attended Plumstead police station and confessed to killing Lee.

"Following his arrest, the investigation was referred to the Homicide and Serious Crime Command and a murder investigation was launched.

"Detailed and extensive enquiries revealed that following the disposal of the body, Puxty withdrew money from Lee's bank account, taking approximately £50,000 over a three month period in order to fuel his drugs and alcohol addiction, as well his liking for luxury goods and motorbikes."

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