Man jailed for Woolwich murder

22 December 2011

Thomas Puxty

Today at Kingston Crown Court, following a two week murder trial Thomas Puxty was sentenced to a minimum of 28 years imprisonment for the murder of Lee Clement in 2006.

Puxty, 31 (7.08.80) of no fixed address befriended Lee, who was described as a vulnerable man, in March 2006, whilst they were living together at an address in Woolwich, south London.

During this time Puxty discovered Lee had a personal wealth of approximately £93,000.

It emerged that Puxty strangled Lee and had callously tied him up with gaffer tape and tortured him in order to obtain details to access his bank account.

After the fatal struggle - and being left with the body - Puxty removed him from the murder scene and took him to a remote woodland location in Kent where he buried Lee in a shallow grave.

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.

At earlier hearings Puxty pleaded guilty to manslaughter and also preventing the lawful and decent burial of a corpse.

He pleaded not guilty to murder, which subsequently went to trial resulting in him being found guilty on Wednesday 21 December.

A spokesman for the family said: "To imagine that anyone would ruthlessly exploit our father's vulnerability fills us with deep sadness. Our relationship with our father ebbed and flowed and to be denied any opportunity to let that relationship flow again is something that will never leave our family."

The judge, His Honour Judge Price, described Puxty as a callous individual, who killed Mr Clement by strangling him before accessing his substantial bank account.

Detective Inspector Chris Stanley, from the Homicide and Serious Crime Command, said: "We must not lose sight that the most important people in this case are the family of Mr Clement, who have had to sit through and listen to the sinister manner in which Puxty had acted in killing their father and uncle. The dignity and courage they have shown has been most humbling.

"As the investigation officer I would like to pay tribute to the professional manner the investigating team have conducted themselves throughout this case and also to praise counsel in the manner in which they presented the case."