Doncaster murder victim ‘buried alive’

Murder victim Alan Easton.
Murder victim Alan Easton.
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A murder victim alleged to have behaved inappropriately with a girl was stoned to death before possibly being buried alive, a jury was told.

Alan Easton was beaten, stoned and stabbed to death in the dead of night in a revenge attack, prosecutors alleged.

His former lover Angela Dowling, of Windmill Avenue, Conisbrough, and family friend, Matthew Duffy, of Sussex Street, Balby, have gone on trial accused of murdering the 50-year-old whose body was found in a shallow grave on farmland in Everton, near Doncaster.

Opening the prosecution, Ian Unsworth QC, said Mr Easton had been a friend of Dowling’s husband who had died from leukaemia in December 2012. The couple had a difficult marriage, he said.

Mr Easton had formed a relationship with Dowling and had moved from Scotland to live with her, telling friends they were engaged.

But Dowling said her ‘fiance’ had ‘acted inappropriately’ with a teenager, a claim which the prosecution said was untrue.

On February 1 Dowling, 47, her other lover and lodger Stephen Schofield, 31, and Duffy, 22, hatched a plan to take Mr Easton out for a meal as a ruse for attacking him, said Mr Unsworth.

Video evidence showed the trio at the Co-op store in Edlington, where Schofield bought a pack of rubber gloves.

Despite knowing that Duffy and Schofield had killed Mr Easton, the three returned to Windmill Avenue, where Dowling bought them a Chinese take away, Mr Unsworth told the jury.

Afterwards Dowling visited an internet dating site and arranged to meet up with a man for sex that night, the court heard.

On Sunday February 3, Mr Easton’s battered body was found off Middle Cross Lane. A glove matching those Schofield bought was found at the scene.

A post mortem examination showed Mr Easton had been stabbed more than 20 times and his face had suffered severe crushing injuries. Mud was found in his respiratory tract which suggested he had been a live and breathing in his makeshift grave.

The jury was also shown CCTV footage captured on February 2 of Dowling at Cash Converters in Doncaster where she appeared to be trading in a camera and a cam corder, which prosecutors say belonged to Mr Easton, as well as an engagement ring.

Mr Unsworth told Nottingham Crown Court:”She id not go to the police , she went to Cash Converters. The evidence of the4ir complicity is compelling.

“They did little to distance themselves and Stephen Schofield. Whatever the details of their cold hearted enterprise they were all in it together.”

Analysis of mobile calls showed Dowling’s phone had been close to the murder scene.

In phone calls made to a friend at her home, she said the three men had been out and about while she emained in the car, which was parked on an unlit lane six minutes walk from where the body was found, the court heard.

In a phone call to Dowling’s son, Andrew, 21, Duffy had claimed Mr Easton had a fight with them in an argument over football and had been put on a train back to Scotland.

At that point he was lying in his shallow grave, quite possibly alive, the court was told.

The jury heard that Duffy and Schofield had told Dowling - described as a woman with an ability ‘compartmentalise her life’ - to keep quiet about Mr Easton’s death.

Dowling and Duffy deny murder.

Schofield pleaded guilty to murder at an earlier hearing.

The case continues.