Wesley Hendrickson and Leon Wright were unanimously convicted of the murder of Asqeri Spaho, during which he received multiple stab wounds to his chest, back and hands from at least two knives. The pair were also convicted of the attempted murder of Arseld Koula, and of aggravated burglary, following an attack on a cannabis grow in Westcliff-on-Sea on 12th December 2019. Brian Kinloch, Scott Heaney, Durald Sokoli and Mitchell Harris were also convicted of aggravated burglary for the part they played in attempting to steal cannabis worth approximately £54,000.
There was no identification evidence in this case, and the attackers were unknown to the second victim, Arseld Koula; the prosecution’s evidence was entirely circumstantial. It relied on technical cell-site, communications and ANPR data to track the defendants from London down to Southend prior to the attack, and during a recce of the cannabis grow the day before. In order to place specific individuals at the scene of the murder, the Crown relied on the expert analysis of DNA, blood patterns, footprints and pathology.
Wesley Hendrickson and Leon Wright were each sentenced (in accordance with the Sentencing Code 2020) to life imprisonment with a minimum term of 32 years, together with a concurrent sentence of 20 years' imprisonment for the attempted murder.
All six defendants were each sentenced to 13 years' imprisonment for the aggravated burglary.
Edmund Burge QC is ranked in Chambers and Partners as a leader in financial crime at the London Bar, and in the Legal 500 for fraud. He was called by Lincoln’s Inn in 1997, took Silk in 2019, and sits as a Recorder in both the Crown Court and the County Court. He specialises in offences involving complex tax and commercial fraud, corruption, arms-trafficking & brokering, money laundering and other serious financial crime.
Benjamin Burge is a criminal practitioner. In recent years, he has developed a practice in the areas of serious and complex fraud, money laundering and business crime. He is frequently instructed as led junior counsel in lengthy, multi-defendant cases in the Crown Court including homicide. He is currently acting as disclosure counsel in a large money-laundering investigation.