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The Independent UK
The Independent UK
Henry Vaughan

Killer guilty of murder 30 years after he was cleared

PA Media

A killer who boasted he had “got away with it” after being cleared of murdering an escort 30 years ago has finally been found guilty of the crime.

Lorry driver David Smith, 67, went on to commit an almost identical murder of another sex worker, Amanda Walker, 21, in 1999 after he was acquitted of killing Sarah Crump, 33, in 1993.

Both women were mutilated by Smith, who was known to colleagues as the “Honey Monster” or “Lurch” because of his 6ft 3in height and heavy build.

Ms Crump’s mother Pat Rhodes had warned at her daughter’s Old Bailey trial she believed Smith would kill again.

At long last justice for our lovely Sarah. If only mum and dad were here with us today to share this momentous occasion
— Joanne Platt and Suzanne Wright, Sarah Crump’s older sisters

But he thanked the jury as he left court when he was cleared of Ms Crump’s 1991 murder after his defence counsel accused police of suppressing evidence and incompetence.

Police emphatically denied the defence allegation and said they were not looking for anyone else.

Smith was finally found guilty of murdering Ms Crump at her one-bedroom flat in Southall, west London, at Inner London Crown Court on Wednesday after Court of Appeal judges ordered a retrial.

He showed no emotion when he was found guilty after less than three hours of deliberation and Mr Justice Bryan said he would sentence him on Friday.

Ms Crump’s older sisters Joanne Platt and Suzanne Wright, who were in court for the verdict, said in a short statement: “At long last justice for our lovely Sarah.

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

“After the disheartening acquittal at the Old Bailey in 1993, our Mum said that Smith would kill again.

“Eight years later, he was found guilty of an even more savage murder and mutilation of a young woman and mother, which he later admitted.

“Thirty years may have passed but we still miss Sarah – she was a shining light in a murky world who wished for the best but found the worst in humanity.”

Smith is already serving a life sentence for Ms Walker’s murder after being found guilty in 1999.

His latest trial heard that while on remand, awaiting trial for Ms Walker’s murder, Smith boasted to another inmate he had already faced trial for murder at the Old Bailey but had “walked”.

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

Smith’s case was referred to the Court of Appeal and was sent for a fresh trial following a change in the law on double jeopardy in 2003.

He denied a single charge of murder but did not give evidence.

Prosecutor William Boyce KC told a jury how Ms Crump’s murder in the early hours of August 29 1991 was part of his “escalating pattern of violent and sexual offending against women” dating back to his teenage years in the 1970s.

He said Smith developed “fascinations and obsessions” with some of the women he paid for sex and had allegedly tried to rape an escort just 10 days before the killing – he was acquitted of attempted rape at the Old Bailey.

Jurors were also told Smith raped a young mother at knifepoint in 1976, and falsely imprisoned an unknown woman in a car around a decade later.

Ms Crump, a secretary in the chiropody department at Wimbledon Hospital, south-west London, who had previously been a psychiatric nurse, was said to have lived a double life as an escort.

Smith, who lived with his parents in Hampton, Middlesex, regularly used sex workers and had visited her flat to pay for sex using a false name, “Duncan”.

The court heard Ms Crump’s naked body was found “brutally mutilated” with the incisions similar to the surgical scars of a woman Smith had “become obsessed with” but “rejected his attentions”.

“The motivation was clearly, you may infer, sexual and violent,” said Mr Boyce.

He said the killing “bore a number of similarities” with the murder and mutilation of Ms Walker in 1999.

Her body was found in a shallow leafy grave near the Royal Horticultural Society gardens at Wisley in Surrey – a spot notorious for couples meeting to have sex – nearly six weeks after she disappeared.

After Smith was found guilty of the murder, Ms Crump’s mother said: “Nothing will bring Sarah back, we know that, but we feel there has been unfinished business while Smith has been free.

“I truly believe Smith to be guilty of the murder of my daughter Sarah. I said at the trial that he would kill again.”

The 2005 inquest of Dr Harold Shipman heard how Smith had regularly played cards with the serial killer GP while serving his sentence at Wakefield Prison.

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