A GRANDFATHER will serve a minimum of 15 years in jail for murdering his ex-lover and trying to cover up his ‘evil act’.
Phillip Brown, 46, of Latham Road, Selsey, smothered Debbie Levey at her East Ashling home, Cherry Tree Cottage, on January 27, 2013.
Sentencing him to life imprisonment at Lewes Crown Court today (February 3), his honour judge Anthony Scott-Gall said: “This was a dreadful crime where you killed a decent, hard-working, loving mother and a valued member of society.
“You have not shown a flicker of remorse.”
He added: “The tears that we have seen you shed have been crocodile tears, replete with self pity.”
Brown was found guilty last week after a three-week trial. He was charged in May, 2013, with the murder of the care home manager with whom he had been in a ‘highly-charged’ relationship.
Ms Levey, aged 44, was found by a colleague in the living room of Cherry Tree Cottage around 7.30am on Monday, January 28, 2013.
Suspicions were raised when police found her phone at the bottom of the fish tank next to her in the living room.
There were also fresh love bites on her neck and an unwrinkled blanked appeared to have been placed over her body.
‘Damning’ DNA evidence revealed Brown had been with Ms Levey shortly before she died, as DNA on the love bites matched his profile. His DNA was also found throughout the house, despite Brown claiming not to have been inside for several weeks.
He claimed to have gone to the home at Ms Levey’s invitation, but found no one in and instead waited outside for five hours before driving away.
Judge Scott-Gall told Brown: “They jury rightly saw through your web of deceit and lies that you embarked upon during the course of your defence.”
He said Ms Levey had been ‘vulnerable’ and just looking for someone to love her.
“However, you weren’t the caring, loving man that Debbie wished for,” said the judge.
“Your relationship with her began in early 2012 and at first all went well between you but cracks began to appear.”
He said described the murderer as a ‘jealous’ man.
“You were both obsessive and possessive towards Debbie – selfish and self-indulgent to excess.
“By November on the evidence, the relationship was off, but I’m quite satisfied you just couldn’t accept it and you carried this grievance with you.”
He told Brown the messages he sent to Ms Levey, were ‘vile and abusive’, interspersed with ‘infantile protestations of everlasting love’.
Detective superintendent Ian Pollard, of the Surrey and Sussex major crime team, said: “This was a complex and painstaking investigation. We worked very closely with forensic scientists and the pathologist, as well as with the Crown Prosecution Service and our counsel, Mark Dennis QC, to show that Brown’s claim never to have been in Debbie’s home on the day of her death was a lie.
“He evidently thought he could mask his evil act of smothering Debbie with a string of distractions, false clues and stories.
“But we were eventually able to show, to the satisfaction of the jury, that he was indeed the killer, and justice has now been done for Debbie, and her family.
“We pay tribute to her family, all of whom have borne the ordeal of the past 12 months with great dignity and fortitude. In particular the court evidence of Debbie’s 17-year old daughter was clearly compelling.”
Ms Levey’s daughter, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was 16 when her mother was killed.
Judge Scott-Gall told the court she said in a victim impact statement: “I feel I’ve been robbed of my mum at an age at which I needed her most.”