Shropshire Star

'Flat of horrors' pair found guilty of murdering Julia Rawson

Serial killer obsessive Nathan Maynard-Ellis has been found guilty of murdering Julia Rawson at his Black Country "flat of horrors".

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Nathan Maynard-Ellis

Jurors also convicted Maynard-Ellis's boyfriend, David Leesley, 25, of murdering former Dudley Market stallholder Ms Rawson at the two men's flat in Tipton.

David Leesley

The jury had been told Ms Rawson, 42, entered a "flat of horrors" in Mission Drive, Tipton, which contained stuffed creatures on walls, face masks, a Chucky doll, reptiles in tanks and DVDs about serial killers.

Maynard-Ellis, 30, was also found guilty of four counts of rape, one of attempted rape and making threats to kill relating to historical allegations made by a woman following his arrest.

Julia Rawson

Both defendants had admitted perverting the course of justice and concealing a body after the dismemberment of Ms Rawson's remains in May last year.

Following the verdicts at Coventry Crown Court, delivered after around seven hours of deliberations, Mr Justice Soole adjourned sentence and thanked the jury for their diligent and careful consideration of the case.

Court artist sketch of David Leesley, left, and Nathan Maynard-Ellis

The judge told the jury: "It has been a very demanding case because of the subject matter; I am very conscious of that."

Both men are due to be sentenced at a later date.

Coverage of the trial:

Julia had spent the day out with friends before ending up in the Bottle and Cork pub in Dudley later on the evening of Saturday, May 11, last year. She was reported missing to police on May 14, after family and friends were concerned that they hadn’t heard from her and she had not attended work.

A missing persons search was carried out and as part of those enquires, police were able to determine that Julia had a chance meeting with a man – and they were seen leaving the pub in a taxi at around 2am on the Sunday morning.

This CCTV was circulated on West Midlands Police's briefing systems and a breakthrough came when a local security guard in Dudley town centre contacted local officers to say he thought he had seen the man. Local officers stopped Maynard-Ellis on May 22, and asked him what he knew about Julia’s disappearance.

He denied meeting Julia and said he didn’t believe the man in the imagery was him. However, officers were confident it was him as he had shown Julia some distinctive tattoos on his arms. He was arrested on suspicion of kidnap.

The following day the missing persons enquiry was passed over to the force's homicide team as there was no proof that Julia was still alive.

Detectives visited the flat which Maynard-Ellis shared with his partner Leesley in Mission Drive, Tipton, which is situated near to a canal and a wooded area. CCTV enquires showed Maynard-Ellis and Leesley walking away from the flat on many occasions with carrier bags casually walking down the canal.

Further enquires also revealed that they had purchased new carpet. Upon further searching officers lifted the new carpet and found a stain underneath which was forensically examined and found to be blood. This DNA matched Julia’s and police were now certain she’d come to harm.

Maynard-Ellis and Leesley were now both in custody and 15 days following the last sighting of Julia they were charged with her murder despite her body not being found.

Police searched for 47 days using a range of specialist equipment including search dogs from other areas of the country. On the afternoon of June 12, officers made a grim discovery – when a search dog found a bag which contained human body parts, and another bag was found around 20 metres away. The body parts had been wrapped tightly in plastic bags, one was slightly torn which had allowed the dog to pick up on the scent.

Following specialist forensic analysis, West Midlands Police officers were able to confirm that they had discovered Julia’s body.

Julia’s family described her as “easy-going and quick to make friends with anyone she met."

They said: "She was a talented artist and musician, with the ability to play by ear. Her drawings were shown at local art shows.

“Her death has had a devastating impact on us, the mutilation of her body and the callous way in which her remains were scattered has revolted us. We can only pray Julia knew nothing about these abhorrent acts.

“We are a close and loving family, clinging to each other in an attempt to support each other through this harrowing ordeal, but shall remain deeply affected and troubled by these events for the rest of our lives because Julia’s loss is felt as keenly today as when we heard she had first gone missing."

Detective Inspector Jim Colclough, from West Midlands Police's homicide team, added: “This is simply a tragic case. The actions of Maynard-Ellis and Leesley are incomprehensible.

"Julia did nothing wrong that evening. The way in which she was murdered and treated in death are despicable.

“Julia’s family, friends and the wider community in which this horrific killing has occurred are left devastated by the cruel actions of the pair.

“Fortunately depraved crimes like this are rare, but their actions were sickening and it’s been a complex and emotionally difficult case for us as officers to investigate.

"However we were determined to seek justice for Julia and I hope their guilty verdicts provide some solace for her loved ones. My thoughts remain with them at this difficult time."

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