A man and a teenager have been found guilty of the manslaughter of Lee Evans in Chelmsford last summer.
Mr Evans, 47, was found off of Parkinson Drive just before 1am on June 22, 2018. He was taken to hospital where, a short time later, he sadly died.
The court heard that he had been attacked and fatally stabbed by drugs runners following a deal in Chelmsford Central Park fifteen minutes before his death.
Today, April 2, 23-year-old Kyle Sullivan of Ongar Road, Writtle, and a 16-year-old boy from South London, who cannot be named for legal reasons, were found guilty of manslaughter following a five week trial at Snaresbrook Crown Court.
Sullivan had also initially been arrested, and subsequently charged with, drugs offences committed on the evening of Mr Evans’ death.
On October 20, 2018, he pleaded guilty to being concerned in the supply of crack cocaine and being concerned in the supply of heroin.
In January 2019, Sullivan also pleaded guilty to drugs offences he had committed twelve months before. He was arrested on January 24, 2018 after he was seen discarding a rucksack containing £19,000 worth of heroin, crack cocaine and cannabis. Officers also found a machete and a knuckleduster in the bag.
He pleaded guilty to these charges, which were: possession with intent to supply crack cocaine, possession with intent to supply heroin, possession with intent to supply cannabis, possession of a knife and possession of an offensive weapon in a public place.
The teenager was found guilty of being concerned in the supply of crack cocaine and guilty of being concerned in the supply of heroin. He also pleaded guilty to a count of affray and possession of an offensive weapon in a public place in a separate incident in Chelmsford town centre on June 13, 2018.
Sullivan and the teenager had been selling drugs in Chelmsford Central Park from late in the evening on June 21, when Lee Evans and one of his friends went to buy crack cocaine from them.
After the drugs had been purchased, Mr Evans and his friend were sat on a bench in the Marconi Ponds Nature Reserve when they were approached by the two dealers, who were both on bicycles.
An unknown liquid was thrown at Mr Evans’ friend and, as he stood up to question the pair, he was attacked. During the attack, he was stabbed seven times.
The pair, the man known as S to Mr Evans and the teenager, then cycled away from the scene.
Mr Evans’ friend called an ambulance and Mr Evans was discovered by officers in a pathway off of Parkinson Drive just after 1am.
During their investigations, detectives used phone data to trace the call logs for the phone believed to be the dealer phone. From this, they were able to identify the SIM card and phone number for the phone that was in possession of the two drugs runners at the time of the killing.
Tracing the number of the dealer phone back, we were able to identify that the phone was first topped up on June 30, 2017 at a supermarket in Springfield Road. Enquiries were made and, after viewing CCTV at the time of top up, we were able to obtain an image of the teenage runner. After weeks of enquiries, he was traced to South London and arrested on September 7, 2018.
Further enquiries and DNA tests from personal affects kept at a dealer’s house in Chelmsford, we were also able to identify Sullivan, who had left the area following Mr Evans’ death. He was arrested in Northampton on August 1, 2018.
Many other arrests of men and women were made throughout the course of the investigation and charged with drug offences.
Senior Investigating Officer, Detective Chief Inspector Martin Pasmore of the Kent and Essex Serious Crime Directorate, said: “My thoughts are very much with Mr Evans’ family during this very difficult time. I hope that today’s outcome will help them start the long process of coming to terms with Lee’s death in such tragic circumstances.
“This has been a very complicated investigation which started with one phone number and two nicknames. It took great determination, long hours and hard work to expose what happened on the night that Lee Evans was killed.
“I’m proud that we gained the trust of local vulnerable people, who were initially hesitant to engage with us. With their accounts, detailed phone analysis, and processing over 2,000 hours of CCTV, we’ve been able to get this result for Mr Evans’ loved ones.
“Sullivan and his co-defendant were unrepentant throughout the course of the trial. Their lack of remorse, and refusal to provide Mr Evans’ family with answers, is deplorable.
“I want to be clear that this teenager is a violent individual, who spent months threatening people in the Chelmsford area and, ultimately, was involved in the killing of a man who was three times his age.
“While trafficking children into county lines gangs is something we’re incredibly concerned with, and offer support for through our officers and organisations like Fearless, I do not doubt that this individual was committing these violent acts for his own advantage.”
Mr Evans’ sister, Becca, said in tribute: “Words can’t describe how much we all miss you, Lee. You made such an impact on so many people and you would always look out for anyone who needed you. You made some bad decisions in life but you were kind, gentle and loyal to people who mattered and that is how everyone who knew you remembers you.
“I miss you trying to get me on your side when you had annoyed mum and your silly questions about things you didn’t understand. I miss you asking me for advice on your quite often terrible fashion sense and your big hugs whenever you saw me. Most of all, I miss my kind and caring big brother who meant so much to me. If only you could see how much everyone truly loved and cared about you.
“It’s been hard to listen to the details of the cowardly and senseless attack on you and the comments made about your past which haven’t always been entirely truthful, but I hope and pray this brings an end to it all and that we can get the justice you deserve. Although it will never bring an end to the pain we have to feel every day after losing you.”
The pair will be sentenced on April 30.