Man guilty of golf course murder

A 21-year-old man has been found guilty of murdering a man whose badly burned body was found on a golf course.







The body of Stefan Welch, 36, was discovered between the 17th and 18th holes at Dyke Golf Club on the outskirts of Brighton, East Sussex, on September 4 last year.



The heroin addict had suffered "catastrophic brain trauma" caused by a heavy blunt object and probably died in less than an hour, the three-week trial at Lewes Crown Court heard.



Jurors took around five hours to find Sean Iran guilty of murdering Mr Welch along with a charge of perverting the course of justice.



His co-defendants, his father, Babak Iran, 44, and brother, Navid Iran, 23, were both found guilty of a charge of perverting the course of justice after jurors heard that they helped try to eliminate evidence of the crime.



The judge, Mr Justice Nicol, had to order members of Mr Welch's family to be quiet when they shouted out from the public gallery as the guilty verdicts were read out.



The three men did not show any emotion and were remanded in custody until 2pm when the judge will decide whether to sentence them or adjourn to another date.

















During the trial jurors heard that a golfer found Mr Welch's body as he went to fetch a stray ball from bushes.



Malcolm McNeil and his friends had been the first to tee off that morning and they were coming to the end of the 18-hole round when he hit his ball into bushes.



As he went to retrieve it he noticed there had been a fire before spotting Mr Welch's charred remains, the court heard.



Mr McNeil, a former teacher, told jurors he was shocked when he later found out the dead man's identity as he had taught Mr Welch when he was aged nine or 10.



Prosecutor Philip Katz QC said Mr Welch had been killed at the house where the three men lived in St Richard's Road, Portslade, before his body was moved to the golf course, doused with petrol and set alight.



Jurors heard that CCTV footage showed cafe owner Babak Iran filling his car with diesel at the BP garage in Kingsway, Hove, after the killing.



Navid Iran filled a green plastic canister with petrol before they paid and drove off in the 4x4 vehicle.



Mr Katz said they then helped Sean Iran remove all traces of the murder from their home before disposing of the body at the golf course.



The same 4x4 was later detected by a police automatic number plate recognition camera near the golf course, the court heard.



Jurors were told that Mr Welch had struggled with drug and alcohol addiction throughout his adult life, which had brought him into contact with police.



The day before he died, he had spoken to his probation officer about his drugs debts and revealed that he had been threatened over them.



During his own evidence Sean Iran told jurors he had nothing to do with Mr Welch's death, saying they were actually close friends and he had been trying to help him kick his heroin habit.



He said he had called Mr Welch his "guardian angel" ever since they had met when he rescued him from being attacked by four men when they were in Lewes Prison in 2008.



The court heard that Sean Iran, who admitted he smoked £20 to £30 worth of cannabis a day to ease his own symptoms of paranoid schizophrenia, depression and anxiety, had serious drugs debts of his own.



He had met Mr Welch while on remand before being jailed for two years in August 2008 for a charge of robbery and one of causing actual bodily harm to a 15-year-old boy.



The court heard that the defendant is also on the sex offenders register for a sexual assault on a 15-year-old girl.









The judge said he would sentence the three men at 4pm

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: The masterminds behind the scenes

The masterminds behind the election

How do you get your party leader to embrace a message and then stick to it? By employing these people
Machine Gun America: The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons

Machine Gun America

The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons
The ethics of pet food: Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?

The ethics of pet food

Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?
How Tansy Davies turned 9/11 into her opera 'Between Worlds'

How a composer turned 9/11 into her opera 'Between Worlds'

Tansy Davies makes her operatic debut with a work about the attack on the Twin Towers. Despite the topic, she says it is a life-affirming piece
11 best bedside tables

11 best bedside tables

It could be the first thing you see in the morning, so make it work for you. We find night stands, tables and cabinets to wake up to
Italy vs England player ratings: Did Andros Townsend's goal see him beat Harry Kane and Wayne Rooney to top marks?

Italy vs England player ratings

Did Townsend's goal see him beat Kane and Rooney to top marks?
Danny Higginbotham: An underdog's tale of making the most of it

An underdog's tale of making the most of it

Danny Higginbotham on being let go by Manchester United, annoying Gordon Strachan, utilising his talents to the full at Stoke and plunging into the world of analysis
Audley Harrison's abusers forget the debt he's due, but Errol Christie will always remember what he owes the police

Steve Bunce: Inside Boxing

Audley Harrison's abusers forget the debt he's due, but Errol Christie will always remember what he owes the police
No postcode? No vote

Floating voters

How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

By Reason of Insanity

Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

Power dressing is back

But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

Caves were re-opened to the public
'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

Vince Cable interview

'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat