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Elephant & Castle suitcase murder: man found guilty

Clinton Bailey has been found guilty at the Old Bailey of murdering his care nurse girlfriend and disposing of her body in a suitcase he bought at Elephant & Castle Shopping Centre.

Leah Questin and Clinton Bailey
Clinton Bailey, right, has been jailed for the murder of Leah Questin

36-year-old IT specialist Clinton Bailey of Lewisham was found guilty of murdering and unlawfully disposing of the body of Leah Questin, 37, in September 2009.

He has been sentenced to life imprisonment with a minimum of 30 years for murder and 5 years for disposal of Leah's body. This will be served in concurrent sentences.

"Leah died at the hands of Clinton Bailey who, during their short relationship, deceived her and took advantage of her generosity," says Detective Chief Inspector Jacqueline Sebire.

"Following her death, Bailey emptied out Leah's bank account of the money she had worked incredibly hard to save. He has throughout the investigation lied and denied ever murdering Leah, showing no remorse for his actions. Despite this we have proved otherwise.

"There is no excuse or explanation for Clinton Bailey's actions. I would like to send my respects and thanks to Leah's friends and family for the support and courage that they have shown throughout the trial and investigation."

During a two-week trial at the Old Bailey, the court heard details of how the pair met. Leah Questin, a care nurse, had come to the UK from the Philippines in 2008 specifically to fund her education in health care. Leah had a relatively small circle of friends and colleagues. She used the internet as a way of meeting people. In mid August 2009, she responded to an advert posted by Bailey. The pair met and then formed what the prosecution believe she hoped was the beginning of a romantic relationship.

During this brief four-week period, Bailey persuaded Leah to devote her time and attention to him. Leah even leant him money whenever he asked for it.

In mid September 2009, Leah was reported as missing to the MPS Missing Persons Unit at Brent by a friend who had not seen her and was growing concerned for her safety.

London-wide media appeals to trace Leah then followed, during which CCTV stills of her stepping off a 172 bus at Elephant and Castle were released.

On 24 September 2009 a member of the public alerted officers at Kent Constabulary to a suitcase abandoned in a dried-up pond, known locally as The Old Pond, by farmland off Buckland Road in Cliffe, near Rochester.

Officers found a badly decomposed body in the suitcase. The deceased was identified as Leah Questin and a murder investigation was launched by the Metropolitan Police.

During the subsequent investigation officers quickly established a link between Leah and Clinton Bailey.

They discovered that Bailey had made a series of cash machine withdrawals from Leah's savings account between 12 and 21 September 2009, completely draining her savings.

Furthermore, Bailey, who had kept hold of Leah's mobile phone following her death, had continued to send text messages to close friends and on occasions himself, in an attempt to suggest that she was still alive and in contact with people. Bailey had also kept and used Leah's Oyster card during this time.

The suitcase and padlock in which Leah's body was discovered in was found to have been purchased by a man matching Bailey's appearance at a shop in the Elephant & Castle Shopping Centre.

On 29 September 2009 Clinton Bailey was arrested at his home address on suspicion of murder and charged on 1 October.

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