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Vengeful double killer guilty of cutting throats of girlfriend and associate

Lee Peacock had only recently been released from prison.

31 January 2023

A “warped and angry” killer has been found guilty of cutting the throats of his girlfriend and an associate within weeks of being released from jail.

Lee Peacock, 50, was out to “punish” his partner Sharon Pickles, 46, and Clinton Ashmore, 59, during a two-day violent spree through Westminster in August 2021, the Old Bailey heard.

The self-confessed burglar and thief tried to turn the 4cm-long knife on himself when police tracked him down to a houseboat on the Grand Union Canal after a five-day manhunt.

Peacock, who had only been released from prison on June 4 2021, admitted killing the pair he claimed were having a relationship while he was in jail, but denied it was murder.

He claimed the death of his “other half” was a “pure accident” and that Mr Ashmore “went mental” and punched him in the head after Peacock confessed to killing Ms Pickles.

Westminster stabbings
Sharon Pickles (Family/PA)

A jury retired at the Old Bailey on Tuesday and deliberated for two hours and 20 minutes to find Peacock guilty of the double murder.

Mr Justice Murray adjourned sentencing until Wednesday morning.

During the trial, prosecutor Edward Brown KC had described Peacock’s actions as “cold-blooded” and “determined”.

On the evening of August 19 2021, Peacock’s father had alerted police that his son had visited him and confessed to being a killer.

Jurors heard he had turned up at the property with Ms Pickles’s kitten in his rucksack.

Officers went to Ms Pickles’s home in Marylebone and found her body wrapped up and hidden under a bed, with a signed confession nearby.

In the note, Peacock wrote that Ms Pickles was “meant to live” and he had sworn “revenge” against those who took advantage while he was in jail.

Jurors viewed CCTV images of the last sighting of Ms Pickles outside her flat and footage of Peacock coming and going on a bicycle.

Later on August 19, the defendant was captured on CCTV walking with Mr Ashmore towards his Westminster flat, then leaving alone 15 minutes later.

Westminster stabbings
Clinton Ashmore was found dead at his flat in Westminster in August 2021 (Metropolitan Police/PA)

Two hours later, Mr Ashmore was discovered dead by friends, having suffered multiple cutting injuries.

Both victims died from similar knife wounds to the neck.

The injury to Ms Pickles suggested the 4cm knife had been plunged in to the hilt and Mr Ashmore had nine knife wounds.

Peacock and the kitten were eventually located on August 25 on a houseboat moored on the Grand Union Canal in central London.

When officers arrived, Peacock tried to cut his own neck before being restrained.

More notes confessing to the murders and explaining the reasons for them were found in his pocket and the clothes he was wearing were seized.

After being treated in hospital, Peacock gave a “chilling” account, saying he had used the same knife in both killings and the attempt on his own life.

He said he had argued with Ms Pickles about her seeing someone while he was in prison.

He said he lashed out with the knife after Ms Pickles laughed at his plan to kill whoever she had been with.

He also wanted to kill others who exploiting Ms Pickles, he said.

Giving evidence in his trial, Peacock insisted he was “not a monster” and he never intended to harm either of his victims.

But Mr Brown told him: “You committed two terrible murders with your warped and angry mind, that’s the reality and you confessed to two terrible murders, didn’t you?

“You were determined to punish Sharon Pickles and you were determined to punish Clinton Ashmore.

“You intended nothing less that to kill each of them, didn’t you?”

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