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Combined sentence of more than 50 years for the three found guilty of killing Lee Gillespie in High Wycombe

| March 17, 2016

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On Wednesday 16th March 2016, at Reading Crown Court, three people were found guilty of killing Lee Gillespie in High Wycombe on Saturday 22nd August 2015.

The combined sentences of those found guilty of the killing total more than fifty years.

Following a seven week trial those found guilty were :

  • Martin Stanislaus, 38, of Delta Grove, Northolt, Ealing who 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. Sentence : Jailed for life with a minimum sentence of 26 years.
  • Jodie Willis, aged 36, of The Mead, Beaconsfield who 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. Sentence : Jailed for life with a minimum sentence of 20 years.  
  • Leigh Burns, aged 38, of Willcott Road, Ealing who 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. Sentence : Jailed for ten years.  

All three were arrested on Sunday 23rd August 2015.

On Saturday 22nd August 2015, at approximately 8.50pm, Thames Valley Police officers were called to All Saints Church in Church Square, High Wycombe following reports of a man having been stabbed. The ambulance service also attended.

However 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.

Adrian Foster, Chief Crown Prosecutor for Thames and Chiltern Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said: ‘This case involved the tragic murder of 26 year old Lee Gillespie in High Wycombe last August.

Just before 9pm on Saturday, 22 August 2015, Lee was set upon by Martin Stanislaus in the churchyard of All Saints Church and brutally and repeatedly stabbed and killed. Stanislaus had been led to the churchyard by Leigh Burns and the revenge attack had been arranged by Lee’s disgruntled ex-girlfriend, Jodie Willis. Stanislaus, also an ex-partner of Willis, inflamed by allegations made by Willis about Lee, made a special trip from his home in London, armed with a large knife, to High Wycombe to carry out the execution. After the incident, they all attempted to impede the police investigation by concealing evidence including their clothing and the murder weapon. Although it was Stanislaus that inflicted the fatal blows, Willis and Burns played significant roles in the attack, which led to the untimely death of Lee. They all acted jointly, together, and are clearly extremely ruthless and violent individuals.

Stanislaus answered ‘no comment’ during four police interviews, Willis denied having intended or instructed any harm towards Lee, and Burns denied playing any part or encouraging the stabbing. Stanislaus and Willis denied murder and perverting the course of justice, but have been found guilty despite their denials. Burns also denied both counts, but was found guilty of the alternative count of manslaughter. He was found not guilty of murder and perverting the course of justice.

This case represents a tragedy for Lee’s family and friends who have been devastated by his death. The witnesses were utterly unprepared for what they saw, acted courageously on the night of the incident and have given evidence in very difficult circumstances. In particular, I would like to mention the bravery displayed by Tom Rose, who intervened during the stabbing, and his extreme efforts to save Lee’s life despite the obvious risks to himself. I would like to pay tribute to Lee’s family and friends and the witnesses for their wholehearted support of the investigation and prosecution.

We have worked closely with Thames Valley Police since this investigation was launched and as a result of the hard work and diligence of the prosecution team, a just outcome has been achieved. We know that nothing will bring Lee back to his family and friends, but we hope that the convictions and today’s sentences bring them at least a small sense that justice has been done. Our thoughts are very much with them all at this time.

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