Killer ex boyfriend of mum-of-five jailed after hiding body in ‘secret location’

The killer ex-boyfriend of missing mum Sarah Wellgreen has been jailed for at least 27 years.

Taxi driver Ben Lacomba, 39, was handed a life sentence after he was convicted of her murder.

Ms Wellgreen, 46, was last seen alive on October 9, 2018, and her body has never been located despite extensive searches by police at a number of places.

A judge today said the mum-of-five's body had been disposed of "at a secret location" known only to her killer.

Lacomba murdered her because he feared losing the home he shared with the victim – despite them having split – and having limited access to their children, his trial heard.

Judge Christopher Kinch told Lacomba, Kent Live reports , that the killing was "planned and calculated".

He said: “No one knows how you killed Sarah. It must be hoped that she did not suffer too much.

"You deliberately set you to deprive them [her children] of their mother. It is hard to imagine something more callous or chilling.”

Addressing the murderer, the judge stated: "She was your former partner and the mother of your children.

"I have listened as Sarah’s son Lewis has read his statement in open court. I’m sure his mother would have been proud of him.

"She was described as bubbly, kind and considerate. Someone who would step in if she thought anyone was being wronged or treated badly.

"The task that I have is to arrive at a just outcome for the offence of murder.

"The sentence for murder is imprisonment for life and that will be the sentence in this case."

He continued: He said: “This murder was no crime of passion or momentary outburst of violence. It was, I am sure planned and calculated.”

More than 100 officers searched 2,771 locations for Ms Wellgreen's body.

Ms Wellgreen had landed a new job with more pay and was buying Lacomba out of the property, the court heard.

Lacomba contacted the force more than 24 hours after Ms Wellgreen was last seen, placing two emergency calls, the trial was told.

In a 999 call played for the jury, he said she had never disappeared before and claimed she was seeing multiple men.

He also alleged that she had a stalker and had been assaulted at work in Portsmouth, Hampshire.

Jurors heard Ms Wellgreen sent messages to on/off partner Mr James and two male friends, Anthony Garnham and Joe Eleini, at around 8pm on October 9 after returning home from work.

In messages to Mr James she referred to Lacomba as a "fat t**t" and said she was going to bed early because "I don't like to sit downstairs with Ben".

After Lacomba's conviction, Detective Chief Inspector Ivan Beasley, of the Kent and Essex Serious Crime Directorate, said after the verdict: "Sarah had every reason to live – she had secured a new, better-paid job days before her disappearance, was looking forward to one of her children’s birthdays and was getting into position to buy the family home outright.

"While we are yet to locate Sarah’s body, it is clear to us that Sarah is no longer alive due to the inactivity of her bank and phone accounts, no contact with friends or family and the fact she left the home without any of her personal items or shown any plans to leave. She didn’t even take her car.

"But when you look at Ben Lacomba, knowing what we know about Sarah and you begin to prove his account of what happened is untruthful, that he had reason to kill Sarah to avoid being left behind by her, it leaves us with little choice but to conclude he killed her.

"No other person came to that house that night, Sarah didn’t walk out of there by herself and Lacomba had clearly researched how to leave the area without being seen – or so he thought.

"I’m pleased the jury came to the same conclusion.

"Lacomba refuses to tell us where Sarah is which makes it difficult to find her and provide her family with some of the closure they so desperately need. Enquiries to find her will continue and so will the support we provide to Sarah’s family and close friends."

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