Barnsley drug user guilty of Sheffield massage parlour boss murder

A Barnsley drug user has been found guilty of the brutal murder of a Sheffield massage parlour boss.

Friday, 14th December 2018, 4:56 pm
Updated Friday, 14th December 2018, 5:02 pm
Jill Hibberd, 73, was found murdered at her home

A jury at Sheffield Crown Court took less than three hours to convict Lee Fuelop, aged 40, of Willow Garth, Wombwell, for killing 73-year-old Jill Hibberd at her home on nearby Roy Kilner Road in May.

Ms Hibberd lived in Wombwell but ran the Fantasia massage parlour in Attercliffe, while Fuelop was a well known area drug user, who often knocked on doors to beg for cash to fuel his habit.

The three week trial had heard evidence from Ms Hibberd's neighbours as well as forensic testimony about the injuries she had suffered and DNA left at the scene.

The court heard how Ms Hibberd had been '˜savagely and repeatedly' stabbed 70 times, and that the chances of the DNA found at the scene being from anyone other than Fuelop were '˜a billion to one'.

It had also viewed CCTV footage of Mr Fuelop's movements on the day of the murder and heard from the defendant himself, who maintained throughout that he had visited Ms Hibberd's house after promising to draw portraits of her dogs, but found her dead when he arrived.

Earlier, judge Mrs Justice O'Farrell had summed up the cases both prosecution and defence barristers had made during the three-week trial.

She said: 'There is very much in common between the prosecution and defence case. It is agreed that Lee Fuelop was in Jill Hibberd's house and stole her car.

 'The issue for you is did he murder her or was she already dead? Has the prosecution made you sure that Lee Fuelop stabbed Jill Hibberd.'

When the foreman of the jury of seven women and five men returned their verdict, there were gasps and tears in the public gallery, while Fuelop, flanked by four custody officers, stood emotionless in the dock.

The judge told him he would be sentenced on Monday and would receive a mandatory life sentence, with the only question for her to decide being what minimum term he should serve before he is considered for release.

Prosecution barrister Kama Melly QC told the judge their view was that the minimum term should be 30 years in prison.