Bill Henham was brutally beaten before being thrown to his death from a balcony at a New Year’s party
The family of a student who was brutally beaten before being thrown to death say they are “grateful for justice” after the four men who murdered him were jailed for life.
Bill Henham was knocked unconscious and fell about 11 feet into a courtyard.
The 24-year-old suffered around 60 wounds after being brutally punched, kicked, kicked and hit with a wooden baluster.
After being thrown from the balcony, Mr Henham’s body was stripped and covered in bleach to cover up evidence of the murder.
But Dushane Meikle, 28, Gregory Hawley, 29, Lamech Gordon-Carew, 20, and Alize Spence, 18, have been convicted of Mr Henham’s murder after a three-month trial delayed by Covid and Storm Eunice.
All four were sentenced to life imprisonment and a total of 86 years in prison at Hove Crown Court.
Hawley and Meikle have been ordered to serve a minimum of 25 years, while Gordon-Carew and Spence will serve a minimum of 18 years in prison.
“We are so angry at what these men have done”
The sentencing judge, the Honorable Mr Justice John Cavanagh, commended Bill’s family for their “extreme dignity and restraint throughout the two and a half year ordeal.”
Following the sentencing, Mr Henham’s family said in a statement: “The events of that night have left us with a Bill-shaped void in our lives.
“We will try not to cry too much but instead smile when we remember his short life, especially because he shared it with us.
“We are so angry at what these men have done and grateful for the justice they will receive.”
“Unfortunately, Bill won’t be passing judgment back on us, and more importantly, it won’t give him a chance to make his mark on the world and follow his dreams in a way that we all aspire to.
“As time goes by, our memories will likely fade and we will forget some of the things he said to us and some of the things he did, but we will never forget how he made us feel.”
After his body was found, a post-mortem found the student had been knocked unconscious and suffered multiple injuries, including a brain hemorrhage, 11 broken ribs, extensive cuts and bruising to the scalp, face and neck – consistent with punches and kicks and stamped .
He had been beaten and thrown from a balcony during a party at a disused four-story former office building, bar and restaurant used as a squat in the early hours of January 1, 2020.
Police were called the next day by concerned neighbors and discovered Mr Henham’s body in a set back courtyard accessed from a flat roof terrace at the rear of the building.
“Bill was a kind and gentle young man”
Detective Superintendent Alex Geldart of Sussex Police said: “Bill was a kind and gentle young man; outside enjoying the New Year celebrations when his life was brutally ended.
“We never gave up hope that we would finally bring those responsible for Bill’s murder to justice.
“We have conducted a lengthy and complex investigation involving a large number of investigations and forensic work to bring this case to court.
“Today’s sentencing of the four men convicted of Bill’s murder reflects the senseless and tragic loss of life.
“You now have many years in prison ahead of you and we hope Bill’s family can find closure knowing his killers are finally behind bars.”
Mr Henham spent Christmas with his family in Henfield, West Sussex but wanted to see the New Year in a “lively” atmosphere in the nearby party town of Brighton, East Sussex.
His father took him to the seaside town and dropped him off near the center on New Year’s Eve.
Bill suffered a “sustained and significant” attack
CCTV showed the 24-year-old leaving a seaside nightclub before he was finally spotted at a corner shop near the squat where he was attacked at 4.30am on New Year’s Day.
The student, who went to Ravensbourne University in south-east London, was killed hours after attending the party.
He suffered “a sustained and significant” attack that left him with over 60 injuries, including multiple broken ribs and a brain injury.
The attack began on the second floor of the building before the victim was dragged to a small room on the first floor, measuring no more than 13 x 6 feet, so the beating could continue.
Mr Henham was then dropped over railings at the edge of a flat roof terrace into a recessed courtyard about 11 feet below.
His attackers stripped off his clothes and poured disinfectant over his body to wash him in order to cover up the crime.
But areas of diluted bloodstains around the building showed how far the killers went to clean up after the brutal attack.
After a tip from a witness at the party, police arrested four men and a 16-year-old boy for the death.
One of those arrested – Gregory Hawley – who has been dubbed “responsible for the squat”, is said to have laughed and joked about the attack and allegedly confessed to stripping Bill’s body and dousing it with bleach.
Hawley was also seen several hours later with a bleach bottle and a cloth just yards from the same room where Mr Henham was attacked.
Others involved also reportedly continued to brag about the attack after moving to a second squat nearby to continue the party.
CCTV outside a corner store showed Bill shakily rolling a cigarette before finally walking towards the entrance of the disused building.
Another of the arrested men – Dushane Meikle – was later found to have two deleted photos of Bill’s body – one partially clothed and one nude – on his cellphone.
Motive for murder remains “unclear”
A witness also selected three of the Hawley suspects, Lamech Gordon-Carew and Meikle, in police ID parades.
One arrested man was released without further action, leaving four defendants to face murder charges.
All pleaded not guilty, but after a trial at Maidstone Crown Court all were found guilty by a jury of murder.
Prosecutor James Mulholland QC told the court during the trial that although the motive for Bill’s murder remained “unclear”, all four men either participated in the physical assault or intentionally assisted or encouraged one or more of the others to do so.
Mr Henham’s family said in a statement released after the accused’s conviction in February, describing the horror of losing Mr Henham in such a brutal manner.
It said: “It is hard to describe the horror of losing a family member to murder, especially in such a brutal and unnecessary way. We cannot understand why anyone would commit such atrocities to someone who is so helpless.
“He was a kind and peaceful young man; a free spirit who chatted happily with those he met.
The statement added: “In CCTV images we saw of him across the street from the cast, it hurts not being able to get him to hear our screams and warn him not to go in.”
https://www.nationalworld.com/news/crime/four-men-jailed-86-years-murder-student-thrown-to-death-from-balcony-at-party-3705022 Men sentenced to 86 years in prison for student’s murder