Murder victim buried alive in north Nottinghamshire grave

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A “femme fatale”, her former lover and his friend have been jailed for life after killing a man blinded by love and burying him in north Nottinghamshire

Angela Dowling, 48, and 23-year-old Matthew Duffy, were convicted of murdering Alan Easton following a trial at Nottingham Crown Court. Stephen Schofield, 33, had previously pleaded guilty to the murder.

The trio, all from South Yorkshire, were each sentenced to life with Dowling and Duffy to serve a minimum of 26 years and Schofield a minimum of 22 years.

Detective Inspector Leigh Sanders, who led the inquiry, said: “This was an extensive and complex investigation involving colleagues from across the EMSOU Major Crime region, South Yorkshire and Scotland.

“Throughout the course of the inquiry, detectives and police staff worked tirelessly to bring Alan’s murderers to justice. I would like to take this opportunity to thank them all for their hard work and dedication. Our thoughts and sympathies are with all those who knew him.”

Mr Easton, 50, of Alexandria, in Dunbartonshire, Scotland, was found buried in Middle Cross Lane, north Nottinghamshire, on Saturday 2 February 2013.

His throat had been cut and a post-mortem examination revealed he had been beaten and stabbed approximately 30 times. He was still breathing when he was put into the makeshift grave.

During the trial the court heard how Mr Easton had been a friend of the Dowling family for more than 10 years and had formed a relationship with mother-of-four Dowling, following the death of her husband in December 2012.

He had moved to Dowling’s home in Conisbrough and the pair had become engaged.

But their relationship turned sour when she discovered Mr Easton was not the wealthy man she thought he was having spent the £40,000 he’d inherited.

Dowling then lied to her former lover Schofield, of Windmill Avenue, and his friend Duffy, of Sussex Street, Doncaster, telling them Mr Easton had acted inappropriately towards a child.

In preparation for their crime the group made a trip to a supermarket in Edlington to buy alcohol and plastic gloves.

On Friday 1 February 2013 Dowling told her family that she was going out for dinner with Mr Easton. Schofield and Duffy went with them.

Under that pretence, Dowling drove them to a remote farmland in Nottinghamshire, where Schofield and Duffy brutally killed and buried Mr Easton in a shallow grave.

Following the discovery of the body detectives found links to Dowling’s address in Windmill Avenue and a complex investigation then ensued.

Telephone and computer analysis implicated Dowling, Schofield and Duffy and they were all arrested for murder.