Four men guilty of murdering student beaten and thrown from balcony at NYE party

Bill Henham, 24, was kicked and stamped on during ‘savage’ assault at Brighton squat party

Ben Mitchell
Friday 25 February 2022 11:55 GMT
<p>Bill Henham, 24,  was out celebrating in the early hours of 1 January 2020, when he was beaten, kicked, stamped on and struck with a wooden bannister spindle</p>

Bill Henham, 24, was out celebrating in the early hours of 1 January 2020, when he was beaten, kicked, stamped on and struck with a wooden bannister spindle

Four men have been found guilty of the murder of a film student who was thrown from a roof terrace after he was “savagely” attacked at a New Year’s Eve party, according to police.

Bill Henham, 24, had gone to the party in a disused building in North Street, Brighton, East Sussex, while out celebrating in the early hours of January 1, 2020, when he was beaten, kicked, stamped on and struck with a wooden bannister spindle.

He was then dropped off a balcony of a flat-roof terrace where his body was found in a recessed courtyard.

Dushane Meikle, 28, of Amberley Drive, Hove, Gregory Hawley, 29, of no fixed address, Lamech Gordon-Carew, 20, of Cheeseman Close, Hampton, Middlesex and 18-year-old Alize Spence, of Academy Gardens, Croydon, were convicted of his murder following a 10-week trial at Maidstone Crown Court.

A Sussex Police spokesman said: “Officers established that Bill, who studied at Ravensbourne University in London, had spent Christmas with his family in Henfield but wanted to see in the New Year in a ‘lively’ atmosphere in Brighton.

(Top l to r) Gregory Hawley, Lamech Gordon-Carew (Bottom l to r) Alize Spence and Duschane Meikle

“Bill’s father gave him a lift into Brighton, dropping him off close to the city centre on the evening of 31 December.

“Trawls of CCTV revealed Bill leaving a nightclub on the seafront, before the final sighting of him at 4.30am on New Year’s Day in a convenience store in North Street, near the squat where the New Year’s Eve party was held.

“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.

CCTV footage of the last known sighting of Bill Henham

“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.”

The victim’s family said in a statement released through police: “Bill, our son and Rory’s brother, was cruelly and coldly taken from us on the morning of January 1, 2020. It is hard to describe the horror of losing a family member to murder, especially in such a brutal and needless way.

“We cannot fathom as to why anyone would inflict such cruelty on someone so helpless.”

The four defendants are to be sentenced on a date to be fixed.

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