Thursday, 1 Jun 2023

Lorry driver found guilty of murdering sex worker more than 30 years ago

A lorry driver who killed and mutilated a sex worker more than 30 years ago and boasted that he ‘got away with it’ has been found guilty.

David Smith, 67, was found guilty at Inner London Crown Court today of murdering Sarah Crump, 33, on August 29 1991.

After hiring her that day, she was later found dead at her one-bedroom flat in Southall, a suburb in west London.

The psychiatric nurse had been stabbed several times, her breasts had been cut off, her chest opened and her internal organs placed on the bed, the court heard.

Smith was tried for Sarah’s death two years later – he claimed he left her unharmed and a jury at London’s Old Bailey cleared him.

Smith thanked the jury as he left the court, with his defence counsel having accused police of suppressing evidence.

He was later convicted of murdering and butchering another sex worker, 21-year-old Amanda Walker.

Smith picked Amanda up from Sussex Gardens, a pleasure district in Paddington. in the early hours of April 25 1999.

Her blood-soaked clothing was found in an alleyway near Smith’s home in Hanworth, Hounslow, the following day.

Six weeks later, Amanda’s body was discovered on the grounds of the Royal Horticultural Society in Wisley, Surrey, nearly 14 miles south of Smith’s house.

In a case that has appalled Britain with its brutal details that the press compared to Jack the Ripper, Smith was convicted at the Old Bailey later that year.

He had many other names at this point: ‘Bigfoot’, for his size 14 feet which police later used to tie him to Sarah’s killing and ‘Lurch’ for his towering 6’3″ height and large build.

The judge at the time described him as ‘extremely dangerous to women’, handing down a life sentence.

As new evidence around Sarah’s death mounted, double jeopardy laws at the time meant Smith couldn’t be tried for the same crime again.

That is until MPs changed that. The Criminal Justice Act 2003 meant cleared suspects could be tried again in light of new evidence.

The Court of Appeal ordered a retrial of Smith and, after less than three hours of deliberation, jurors found him guilty.

Smith denied all charges but did not give evidence.

Jurors previously heard how while waiting on remand and awaiting trial for Amanda’s murder, he boasted to an inmate that he had ‘walked’ free already.

‘He said that they got no evidence on him and that he got away with it,’ the prisoner said.

Justice Bryan said he would sentence Smith on Friday.

Sarah’s older sisters Joanne Platt and Suzanne Wright said after the verdict: ‘At long last justice for our lovely Sarah.

‘If only mum and dad were here with us today to share this momentous occasion.’

For Sarah’s late mother, Pat Rhodes, today’s verdict was one she had hoped for in 1999 after Smith was found guilty of murdering Amanda.

‘Nothing will bring Sarah back, we know that, but we feel there has been unfinished business while Smith has been free,’ she said, per the BBC.

‘I truly believe Smith to be guilty of the murder of my daughter Sarah.

‘I said at the trial that he would kill again.’

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