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HomeCrimeWoman from Harrow among three jailed for Shakira Spencer murder

Woman from Harrow among three jailed for Shakira Spencer murder

Three people, including a woman from Harrow, have been jailed for murder after detectives pieced together evidence to prove that the trio tormented, tortured, starved, burnt and eventually battered to death a woman from Ealing.

On Monday, 11 December, Ashana Studholme, 39 (15.12.84) of Greenhill Road, Harrow; Shaun Pendlebury, 26 (09.08.97) of Tewkesbury Road, Ealing, and Lisa Richardson, 45 (17.01.79) of Broomcroft Avenue, Ealing, were found guilty of the murder of Shakira Spencer.

They were also found guilty of preventing the lawful burial of her body following a 12-week trial at the Old Bailey.

All three were jailed for life at the same court on Friday, 1 March. They will each serve a minimum of 34 years, minus time spent on remand (522 days). They were also each sentenced to five years imprisonment for preventing lawful burial.

The judge commended the investigating team for their diligence and hard work in such a distressing case.

In a statement, Shakira’s family said: “Shakira was a beautiful soul who cared deeply about people and loved spending time with her family and friends. She was always thoughtful and wanted to be liked. Her eagerness to please people made her vulnerable.

“We have struggled as a family to come to terms with the fact that Shakira was controlled, enslaved and tortured by the defendants in the months leading up to her murder. The defendants took over her flat whilst she slept in the bike shed. They isolated her from her family and friends. Her children were poisoned against her. Shakira’s health deteriorated to the point she was almost unrecognisable.

“Her life was reduced to an empty and miserable existence. We will never be able to comprehend the defendants’ cruelty when Shakira would have only wanted to be their friend. We can only think that the defendants have done this for their own sadistic pleasure.

“We were incredibly pleased and relieved when we found out that all three defendants would be held accountable for their heinous crimes. However, nothing will bring Shakira back to us and her children will now grow up without their mother.”

Senior Investigating Officer, Detective Chief Inspector Brian Howie said: “No sentence can ever bring Shakira back, or compensate for the loss of such a beloved family member, but my team and I are glad to see that the terms handed down today mean these three evil people will spend many, many years behind bars.

“During the trial Shakira’s family and friends listened to deeply traumatising evidence of the depraved acts of cruel torment committed by the three defendants. They murdered Shakira in the most savage and inhumane way imaginable.

Woman from Harrow among three jailed for Shakira Spencer murder Harrow Online
35-year-old Shakira Spencer was found in her flat on Holbeck Road in Hanwell.

“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 coercive 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 of 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.”

Officers were called to Holbeck Road, Ealing at 16:38hrs on 25 September 2022 after concerns were raised for the welfare of the woman inside the property.

Police forced entry into the property, and found the body of a woman who was later identified as 35-year-old Shakira Spencer.

Later, at 00:10hrs, one of Pendlebury’s relatives called police to say that he had confessed to being involved in the killing of a woman and that Studholme and Richardson were also involved.

The trio were arrested just hours later and taken into custody.

Shakira, although she had vulnerabilities, had been a happy and healthy woman. She had known the three for some time, in what was a complex web of relationships, but in just under a year she had fallen under their complete control.

They stole her self-respect, her children, and her home, took over her finances and controlled her life.

They had subjected her to a prolonged campaign of beatings, enslavement, coercion and control, humiliation and degradation over a period of months.

This culminated in a frenzied, violent assault reaching a climax between 9 and 12 September 2022, from which Shakira most likely died on 14 September 2022. Instead of taking her to hospital, Pendlebury and Studholme drove Shakira back to her home in the boot of a car and in a completely unfathomable evil act, bundled her in a cupboard and left her to die.

Officers recovered CCTV footage and bank transactions where the defendants used Shakira’s bank card to purchase a cleaning product, and Studholme and Richardson used their own bank cards to purchase items including refuse sacks and gloves, all in an attempt to clean-up the crime scenes and conceal their involvement in the murder.

Their mobile phones were seized, which laid bare to detectives just what they had done to Shakira. Hundreds of messages were found on their phones referencing the abuse they had subjected Shakira to.

Richardson and Studholme exchanged images of a bedraggled Shakira, mocking her. Videos of Shakira being beaten up while the others laughed and jeered were also discovered.

The three defendants were charged with murder three days after their arrest.

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