Two people have been convicted of murder and other of manslaughter after a ‘brutal’ murder at a church.
Lee Gillespie, 26, died in the attack on August 26 at All Saints Church in High Wycombe.
Following a seven week trial, Martin Stanislaus, 38, of Delta Grove, Northolt, Ealing, was found guilty by a unanimous jury of one count of murder, one count of possession of a knife blade / sharp pointed article in a public place and one count of perverting the course of justice.
Jodie Willis, aged 36, of The Mead, Beaconsfield, was found guilty of one count of murder by a majority verdict and guilty of one count of perverting the course of justice by a unanimous verdict.
Leigh Burns, aged 38, of Willcott Road, Ealing, was found guilty of one count of manslaughter by a majority verdict and not guilty of perverting the course of justice. He was found not guilty of one count of murder.
All three were arrested on 23 August 2015.
Willis and Stanislaus were charged on 25 August and Burns was charged on 26 August.
On 22 August 2015, police were called to All Saints Church in Church Square, High Wycombe, at approximately 8.50pm, 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.
Senior investigating officer, Det Chief Insp 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.”
A family statement read: “Lee was a gentle, caring, loving man, who wouldn’t judge anyone.
“He had a smile which lit up your heart.
“There wasn’t a day when you wouldn’t see a smile on his face. Not only was he a son, brother, nephew and grandson, he was our best friend too.
“Not only has the loss of Lee hurt his family, the impact on what people witnessed on the 22nd August 2015 has been apparent. Thank you to all the people for their courageous efforts to try and save our son.
“So much heartache has been caused over the mad decision to take Lee’s life including for the defendant’s families. We are all suffering. Life will never be the same without Lee who we love and miss greatly.”