A MAN has been found guilty of stabbing to death a former Chichester woman in a New Forest field after he was recruited to stop her making an accusation about a sexual assault.
Mother-of-five Pennie Davis, 47, was found dead by her husband on September 2 in a field at Leygreen Farm in Beaulieu, Hampshire, where she was tending horses.
Justin Robertson, 36, was found guilty of murder and conspiracy to murder following a six-week trial at Winchester Crown Court.
Jurors heard that Robertson agreed to kill Mrs Davis for Benjamin Carr, 22, the son of Ms Davis’s ex-lover, to stop her telling police that he had allegedly sexually assaulted someone when he was 14.
Carr, of Edward Road, Southampton, was found guilty of conspiracy to murder.
Co-defendant Samantha Maclean, 28, of Beech Crescent, Hythe, was found not guilty of the same charge.
Robertson gave no reaction as his verdict was read out, but clapped his hands together when Ms Maclean was acquitted.
A fourth person, Robertson’s girlfriend, Lian Doyle, 24, of Beech Crescent, Hythe, earlier pleaded guilty to perverting the course of justice after she disposed of his shoes, it can now be reported.
Mr Justice Popplewell told Robertson and Carr that they would be sentenced later.
Mrs Davis, who had only recently married new husband Peter Davis, was alone in a small paddock in a field tending her horses when she was fatally stabbed.
The trial heard that Mrs Davis knew Carr because she had formerly been in a relationship with his father Timothy.
Prosecutor Richard Smith QC said Carr harboured a ‘lasting hate and anger’ towards Mrs Davis after she made a complaint to police about allegations of sexual assault.
Mr Smith said police took no further action over the complaint and added that Carr “strenuously and consistently” denied the allegations.
But the accusations left Carr with a ‘lasting sense of animosity, hatred, towards Pennie Davis’ which, according to prosecutors, didn’t ‘wear off’.
Mr Smith said Mrs Davis repeated the allegations against Carr in August last year after she found out that Timothy Carr was to marry his new partner, Alison Macintyre.
Mr Smith told jurors: “Ben Carr came to the conclusion that killing Pennie Davis was the only means to bring those potential allegations to an end.”
Carr promised Robertson £1,500 for the killing, the court heard.
Mrs Davis, known as Pennie Lambert before her marriage in May last year, had lived in Westhampnett and Chichester, working in Tesco in Fishbourne and went to school at St Philip Howard in Barnham.
She suffered 13 stab wounds in the brutal attack and Police linked Robertson to the murder scene after his car keys were later found in the field where Mrs Davis was killed.
Giving evidence, Carr said he only wanted to ‘scare’ Mrs Davis and did not intend for any physical violence to be used against her.