Chilling footage shows a pensioner being lured to a flat where he was battered to death by a woman and a teenage boy who then stuffed his body in a TV box.
Antoinette Sheppard, 44, and Kieron Spicer, 16, murdered ‘kind and gentle’ Michael Brady before hiding his remains in a garden shed in Coventry. A court heard Sheppard befriended 74-year-old Mr Brady and invited him to her home after the evil pair hatched a plot to kill and rob him on June 18 last year.
CCTV shows Mr Brady entering the address shortly after 6pm and at the same time messages were exchanged between the defendants discussing robbing him. Mr Brady suffered blunt force injuries as a result of being attacked with ‘a sharp instrument’ – namely a machete – and was also strangled during the brutal attack.
After killing Mr Brady, the callous pair put his body in a large TV box before dragging it to an external shed to hide. Sheppard and Spicer then stole Mr Brady’s bank card, taking it to a nearby shop where they are caught on camera withdrawing more than £300 to buy alcohol.
The police were then called, leading to the pair’s arrest. Today Sheppard was jailed for a minimum of 30 years while baby-faced Spicer, now 17, was sentenced to 18 years after being found guilty of murder. Spicer’s name was allowed to be published by the judge at the sentencing hearing at Warwickshire Justice Centre, following a prosecution application.
The court was told both suspects blamed each other for Mr Brady’s death in police interview, claiming they each tried to stop the other. During their trial, phone messages were shown in which Sheppard and Spicer discussed inflicting violence on someone.
One message from Spicer said “I am on one. I am going to hurt people.” Following concerns from members of the public, police were called to the address on Bowness Close. When they arrived, officers searched the shed, found Mr Brady’s body and arrested Sheppard on suspicion of murder.
Spicer phoned Sheppard at this time and, when officers answered, said: “If you want to speak to me, you’ll have to find me.” He was later found after he told a social worker he had been asked to hide a body. The court heard how Sheppard had groomed Spicer to commit offences and neither defendant had showed any remorse.
A victim impact statement from Mr Brady’s family said: “We do not understand; nor will we ever understand the violence shown to my dad, a vulnerable, ailing, gentle man who trusted people. Telling my family, friends, and work colleagues that my dad had been murdered was surreal and devastating.
“The words feeling foreign when they left my mouth. It is still difficult now to say the words out loud. Prior to all of this my dad was a kind man, generous and hardworking, he loved to laugh and had many friends.”
Detective Inspector Jim Colclough, of West Midlands Police, said: “This was a tragic case of a vulnerable man being killed by people he thought he could trust. This was a planned and pre-meditated act of violence, with messages exchanged between both defendants discussing what they were going to do.
“Not only did they murder Mr Brady, but they were both perfectly content to try and blame each other for it. We hope Mr Brady’s family will take some closure from this and that justice has been done.”
Judge Andrew Lockhart KC decided to lift restrictions that would have prevented the teen, who was 16, from being named due to his age, reports CoventryLive. “Taking into account all of the circumstances in this case, I find there is no good reason to retain reporting restrictions following Kieron’s conviction and sentence,” he told Warwick Crown Court. In my judgement, there is a strong public interest in full and unrestricted reporting of what is plainly an exceptional case.”
In summing up the case, the judge said: “This was a particularly serious planned murder which was carried into effect with enormous brutality. In the statement from Michael’s daughter, she speaks movingly of the shock the family suffered of his untimely death. She speaks of the struggles he had faced with dementia and the fact that he had been in and out of hospital across the year before his death.
“Allowed to live alone, the view of the family was that he remained very vulnerable in the community. He was moved to a flat in Earlsdon with a care plan in place and was then to receive the diagnosis of vascular dementia and Alzheimer’s.
“[His daughter] had described to the jury the enjoyable day she had spent with her father on Father’s Day only hours before you two (Sheppard and Spicer) murdered him. She says that ‘we do not understand nor will we ever understand the violence shown to my father.
“A vulnerable, ailing and gentle man who trusted people. We have not only had to witness our loved one battling against his illness but we have had to sit through and hear every horrifying, disgusting detail of the brutal ending of my father and how he was trying to defend himself’. These details will never be forgotten and they will scar the family forever.”
He said that Sheppard had a ‘difficult life’, and was struggling with addiction to alcohol and other mental health problems. “The combination of these difficulties and your living conditions meant that by the summer of 2023 you were in a phase where you were almost out of control,” the judge said.
He added that she had been in a relationship with Spicer’s uncle for 14 years, before he had left her. He explained that, as a result, Kieron was brought into contact with Sheppard through his uncle.
“By 2023, your relationship was close. Initially it was relatively normal but by the summer of 2023, this had changed. The relationship moved from something that was normal to something that was seriously abnormal and wholly disturbing.
“You (Sheppard) were grooming him to your own ends, My clear conclusion is that as you descended into a maelstrom of violence, you (Sheppard) allied yourself to Kieron, already a young person veering off the straight and narrow.
“This suited your purposes. He was someone you could use to your own purposes. You (Spicer) were acting as an enforcer for Miss Sheppard.” He said they formed a ‘bizarre team’ that was keen to ‘mete out violence for your own purposes and because you enjoyed it’.
He added that Sheppard had a further hold over him as they were engaged in a sexual relationship with him ‘it made your hold over him even stronger and another aspect of your grooming behaviour.’ He said that while Sheppard had led him on, Spicer was “happy to be an enforcer, offering to assist and use violence against others when she asked”.
The judge said that, fuelled by booze and drugs, the pair “enjoyed your lawlessness, you were both excited by the prospect of using violence against others”. He added it was that the situation was a ‘powder keg ready to go off’. “This was a toxic relationship that was bound to end in tragedy.”
It was revealed in the summing up that, just hours before they brutally murdered Mr Brady the pair had a failed attempt to kill another man – with the same weapons – a machete and the blue rope – in Sheppard’s flat. But he managed to talk them down and get away.
“I’m plain that had he not he too would have been slain by you two,” the judge said. “This utterly terrifying event was a pre-cursor to the terrible events that were about to unfold.” He said that the pair then lured Mr Brady to Sheppard’s flat. “I am sure that you (Sheppard) had been having sex with him (Mr Brady) for money for some period, exploiting him even before this terrible event.”
He said this earlier contact had set up their ‘murder for gain’ as she knew he had money and also carried bank cards around with him. He said that the pair had planned to torture him to get his pin numbers.
Judge Lockhart said that Sheppard lured Mr Brady into the bedroom, engaging him in a sex act, when Spicer burst in with a machete. “He begged for you (Spicer) to stop, but you did not,” the Judge said. “His suffering was frankly enormous and there were over 50 separate injuries including broken bones. You, Kieron, stamped on his chest with such huge force, breaking several ribs.”
He explained: “Despite the terrible beating, Mr Brady sadly clung onto his life, but this could not be allowed to happen, so you decided he must die and the ligature was wrapped around his neck and you, Miss Sheppard, literally squeezed the life from him.”
The twisted pair then put the pensioner’s body into an old TV box, pushing it out of the flat and shoving it into a nearby shed. It was removed in the most undignified of ways from the flat, the body of Mr Brady, which deserved respect, was literally cramped into the large television box you had to hand and pushed into the tiny shed. It shows a powerful lack of respect.”
The heartless duo then, just 10 minutes later, used a cash card they had stolen from Mr Brady to withdraw £300 which they blew on booze and drugs. “The CCTV from the shop shows you both laughing, joking and revelling in the fact that you had money that you could now spend on drink and drugs.”
They made another trip to the cash point to get more money and later Spicer left the flat and spent some of the money on a taxi to go and have sex with a prostitute., something the judge said ‘Sheppard encouraged’. “Neither of you have shown a scrap of remorse and contested the events along the way,” he added.
Taking into account her mental struggles, including being borderline schizophrenia and alcohol dependency and the issues linked to this, Sheppard was given a life sentence to serve a minimum of 30 years minus the 232 days she had already spent on remand.
Spicer, who too has mental health issues and early years trauma, received 18 years in prison, minus the 232 days he has spent in remand. His initial sentence will be spent in juvenile prison as he is not 18 until later this year.