Woman who plotted to have ex-husband killed guilty of manslaughter

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A mother-of-four has been found guilty of manslaughter after her ex-husband was killed in a “vicious and relentless” attack. Colleen Campbell, 38 plotted with the attackers, revealing where her former partner would be on the night of the attack. As a result Thomas Campbell, 39, was ambushed by three men on July 2 last year as he returned to his home in Mossley, Greater Manchester. In a relentless two-hour attack Mr Cambell suffered 61 injuries consistent with being stamped on or kicked, stabbed, strangled and scalded.

Ms Campbell was found cleared of murder but found guilty of manslaughter following a five-week trial.

The court heard that the planning of the attack began several days before with the main instigator, thought to be John Belfield, still wanted by police.

Prosecutors allege that John Belfield, who was not on trial but was named in court as a co-conspirator, was one of the three attackers.

His ex-partner had been seeing Mr Campbell which may have been the motive behind the murder.

The court heard that Ms Campbell had shared information about her ex-husband’s whereabouts with the attackers.

One of the attackers, Reece Steven, 29, was found guilty of murder while a second man, Stephen Cleworth was found not guilty of murder but guilty of manslaughter.

Ms Campbell, Steven and Cleworth were all found guilty of conspiring to murder.

The court heard that in the week leading up to the murder Cleworth, Steven and a third man arranged for a tracker to be placed on Mr Campbell’s car.

Prosecution said Steven was involved in the “planning and execution of the murder” while Cleworth was not present at the time of the attack as he was on a “bender” at a swingers’ club.

The court heard that Campbell’s body was found in the hallway of his address by neighbours and his house had been ransacked but it is unclear if they took anything.

Police launched a murder investigation but no DNA was recovered from the scene.

Instead cell site data, CCTV footage and circumstantial evidence were used to track down those involved.

Lucy Scully, Senior Crown Prosecutor with CPS North West’s Complex Casework Unit, branded the attack “vicious and relentless”.

Ms Scully added: “The CPS worked hard with Greater Manchester Police to piece together the strands of evidence to prove that this was a pre-planned and sophisticated attack, where each person played their part in causing Thomas’s death. Despite their attempts to cover their tracks, they have been found guilty.

“My thoughts are very much with Thomas’s family and friends.”

Ms Campbell, of Bamford Street, Clayton, Manchester; Cleworth, 38, of Charles Street, Heywood; and Steven, 29, of Poplar Street, Middleton, will be sentenced on Wednesday.

A fourth defendant, Karl Murphy, 50, was found not guilty of participating in the activities of an organised crime group.

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