Bill was beaten unconscious and dropped into a recessed courtyard, within a disused building in North Street on January 1, 2020.
The 24-year-old, from Henfield, suffered extensive injuries, having been savagely beaten, kicked, stamped on and struck with a wooden bannister spindle.
Dushane Meikle, 28, of Amberley Drive, Hove, Gregory Hawley, 29, of no fixed address, Lamech Gordon-Carew, 20, of Cheeseman Close, Hampton, Middlesex and 19-year-old Alize Spence, of Academy Gardens, Croydon, were convicted on 24 February following a 10-week trial at Maidstone Crown Court, Kent. They had all denied murdering Bill.
The other two convicted defendants Gregory Hawley and Lamech Gordon-Carew
At Hove Crown Court on Friday all four were sentenced to life imprisonment, with Hawley and Meikle to serve a minimum 25 years, and Gordon-Carew and Spence to serve a minimum 18 years.
Police were called to the disused four-storey building, a former office block with bar and restaurant, after receiving information on 2 January that a man had been beaten and dropped off a balcony during a party at the location, which was being used as a squat. Officers attended and discovered Bill Henham’s body in a recessed courtyard, accessed from a flat roof terrace at the rear of the building.
A post mortem examination revealed Bill had been beaten unconscious and suffered multiple injuries, including; brain haemorrhage, eleven rib fractures, extensive cuts and bruising to the scalp, face, and neck. All were consistent with being punched, kicked and stamped on.
A murder investigation was launched by the Sussex and Surrey Major Crime Team.
Tragically, it appears that Bill was killed within a few hours of going to the party. He was subjected to ‘a sustained and significant’ assault, that left him with over 60 injuries including multiple broken ribs and a brain injury.
Forensic evidence showed the attack had started on the second floor of the building before Bill had been dragged or pulled to a small room measuring no more than 4m by 2m on the first-floor for the beating to continue.
Bill was then dropped over railings at the edge of a flat roof terrace, into a recessed courtyard some 11ft below.
Bill had been stripped of his clothing and it was apparent disinfectant had been used to wash his body and other areas of diluted bloodstaining in the building indicated attempts had been made to clear up after the brutal assault.
Police quickly arrested four men and a 16-year-old boy in connection with Bill’s death, acting on information received from witnesses at the party.
One of those arrested, Gregory Hawley, described as ‘in charge of the squat’, was said to have laughed and joked about the attack and allegedly confessed to stripping Bill’s body and dousing him in bleach before throwing him out of a window.
Hawley was also seen a few hours later with a bleach bottle and cloth just a few feet from the same room where Bill was assaulted and others involved were alleged to continue boasting about it once they had moved to a second squat nearby.2022024-Disinfectant-cannister-evidence-op-gatling-ls.png
The empty disinfectant bottle found at the scene and forensically linked to Bill
Another of the arrested men, Dushane Meikle, was later found to have two deleted photos of Bill’s body – one partially clothed and one naked – on his mobile phone.
A witness also picked out three of the suspects; Hawley, Lamech Gordon-Carew and Meikle, in police identity procedures.
The suspects were all were released under investigation in order for detectives to continue their complex and far-reaching investigation.
Following 16 months of painstaking investigative and forensic work, in May and June 2021 three of the four arrested men, and the arrested boy (the now aged 18), were charged with Bill’s murder.
The remaining arrested man was released without further action.