Trio sentenced over graveyard killing of Lee Gillespie

Three people have been sentenced to a total of 56 years' imprisonment for the murder and manslaughter of 26-year-old Lee Gillespie in High Wycombe.

Friday, 18th March 2016, 4:10 pm
Updated Friday, 18th March 2016, 4:12 pm

Martin Stanislaus, 38, of Delta Grove, Northolt, Ealing, was sentenced at Reading Crown Court today to 26 years’ imprisonment for one count of murder, three years’ imprisonment for possession of a knife blade / sharp pointed article in a public place and three years’ imprisonment for perverting the course of justice.

The sentences are to be served concurrently.

Jodie Willis, aged 36, of The Mead, Beaconsfield, was sentenced to 20 years’ imprisonment for one count of murder and two years’ imprisonment for perverting the course of justice, to be served concurrently.

Leigh Burns, aged 38, of Willcott Road, Ealing, was sentenced to ten years’ imprisonment for manslaughter.

The three defendants were convicted at the same court yesterday following a seven week trial.

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.

All three were arrested on 23 August 2015.

Willis and Stanislaus were charged on 25 August and Burns was charged on 26 August.

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 sentences handed to 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.”