Saturday , October 31 2020

Ben Lacomba: Taxi driver found guilty of murdering missing mother of five – The Independent, Independent


                                                                         

Taxi driverBen Lacombahas been found guilty ofmurderingmissing mother-of-fiveSarah Wellgreen, more than a year after she was last seen alive.

                                                                                                                                                                                                     

The 46 – year-old beautician had been living a “happy life with much to look forward to” but disappeared without a trace in October 2018.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        

Despite extensive searches across a huge area, the body of the mother has never been found.

                                                                                                                                                                        

  

    

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Lacomba was living with Ms Wellgreen, his former partner, at their home in New Ash Green,Kent, at the time of her disappearance. *******                                                                                                                                                                                                               

The jury atWoolwich Crown CourtinLondonheard that Lacomba killed her in a “calculated manner designed to avoid detection, to leave no trace” and to “remove her from his life forever”.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                         

    

        

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The pair still lived together despite splitting up in 2014 and their relationship was described in court as marked by “tensions and problems”.

                                                                                                                                                                                                     

When Ms Wellgreen attempted to buy him out of the house they lived in, Lacomba apparently decided to take drastic action, the court heard.

                                                                                                                                                                                                             

Prosecutor Alison Morgan QC told the court that it appeared the “potential loss of that family home, that property, and his children motivated his actions.”

                                                                                                                                                                                                     

Detective Chief Inspector Ivan Beasley, from the Kent and Essex Serious Crime Directorate, said Ms Wellgreen “had every reason to live” and described Lacomba’s account of what happened as “untruthful”.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                

“While we are yet to locate Sarah’s body, it is clear to us that Sarah is no longer alive due to the inactivity of her bank and phone accounts, no contact with friends or family and the fact she left the home without any of her personal items or shown any plans to leave, ”Mr Beasley said.

                                                                                                                                                                                                     

“Lacomba refuses to tell us where Sarah is which makes it difficult to find her and provide her family with some of the closure they so desperately need.”

                                                                                                                                                                                                          

  

    

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He said enquires will continue to find her body.

                                                                                                                                                                                                     

Kent Policeadded that the search for Ms Wellgreen was one of the largest in the force’s history with 1, 275 areas searched over 2, 782 miles.

                                                                                                                                                                                                     

Ms Wellgreen’s partner, Neil James, said he was relieved by the verdict and hopes Lacomba “rots” in prison.

                                                                                                                                                                                                     

“It is relief for the family and especially for the kids. It is a relief for all of her friends. The right decision has been made and hopefully he will let us know where her body is, ”Mr James said.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  

“Only this morning my daughter was asking where her mummy was.”

                                                                                                                                                                                                     

During the trial, Lacomba claimed he was asleep in bed on the night of the alleged killing.

                                                                                                                                                                                                     

However, the prosecution said he attempted to evade justice by switching off aCCTVsystem in the middle of the night and parking his car in an unusual spot to evade detection.

                                                                                                                                                                                                     

The taxi driver said it was “unusual and weird” when he woke up one morning to find Ms Wellgreen had disappeared.

                                                                                                                     

A date for sentencing has not yet been decided.

                                                                                                                     

Additional reporting by PA

                                                                                                                                                    

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