Three people have been convicted after detectives pieced together a wealth of evidence to prove that they tormented, tortured, starved, burnt and eventually battered to death a woman from Ealing.
On Monday, 11 December, Ashana Studholme, 38, of Greenhill Road, Harrow; Shaun Pendlebury, 26, of Tewkesbury Road, Ealing; and Lisa Richardson, 44, of Broomcroft Avenue, Ealing, were found guilty of the murder and of preventing the lawful burial of Shakira Spencer at the Old Bailey, following a trial lasting 12 weeks.
Senior Investigating Officer, Detective Chief Inspector Brian Howie said: “My thoughts today, and that of my team, are with Shakira Spencer’s family and friends. During the trial they listened to deeply traumatising evidence of the depraved acts of indescribable cruel torment committed by the three defendants. They murdered Shakira in the most savage and inhumane way imaginable.
“Shakira was a beautiful, happy mother who was kind and had a trusting nature. Shakira could be vulnerable and these defendants took advantage of that by controlling and isolating her from everyone she knew in order to control and enslave her in the most dehumanising and degrading way.
“The family’s ordeal has been compounded by the behaviour of the defendants, who have each lied, providing implausible accounts and explanations to try and absolve themselves of any responsibility. Whatever their cruel and sadistic motives were, there is no acceptable explanation for what Shakira was put through.
“This was a complex and challenging investigation. A meticulous timeline was created to pull together the different strands of evidence, paralleled against each other, in order to prove the defendants’ campaign of controlling behaviour and violence.
“This included the retrieval and viewing of thousands of hours of CCTV, extensive forensic examinations, pathology, witness accounts, searching of houses and vehicles and reviewing the defendants’ phones. That examination revealed what Shakira had been subjected to, with footage, messages and voice notes recorded by the defendants themselves that would prove key.”