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Inquest to resume into death of Joe Pooley following life imprisonment for his killers

Joe’s mother and her legal team had called for an inquest into the events that preceded the death of her son

The mother of Joe Pooley, who was murdered in 2018, has welcomed the decision from the Coroner to resume the inquest into his death, following the sentencing of his killers.

The Senior Coroner agreed to resume the inquest which had been adjourned during the criminal proceedings. A pre-inquest review hearing will be held in due course.

Joe’s murderers were sentenced last month, Becki West-Davidson, aged 30, Sean Palmer, aged 31, and Sebastian Smith (formerly known as Luke Greenland), aged 35, were sentenced to life imprisonment, after being convicted at Ipswich Crown Court in March of murdering Joe.

It is approaching three years since Joe’s body was pulled from the River Gipping in Ipswich on 13 August 2018. An investigation found that he was murdered on or around 7 August. At the time of his death, Joe had been placed in bed and breakfast accommodation and was awaiting transfer to supported living accommodation.

Joe was a vulnerable adult who had been in the care of various agencies including Suffolk County Council Adult and Community Services, the Mental Health Team and the Complex Care Team, Catch22 and Mencap. Although he never received a formal diagnosis, it was strongly suspected that Joe had Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD), Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and/or learning disabilities.

Ms Nicholls is represented by Civil Liberties and Human Rights solicitor Sarah Flanagan, from Hodge Jones & Allen.

Sarah said: “We welcome the Coroner’s decision to hold an inquest into the death of Joe Pooley. The inquest process is important for families who have lost loved ones in unexpected or violent circumstances, and Ms Nicholls has a long road ahead of her particularly given the backlog created by the Covid-19 pandemic.

“On behalf of Sam, we hope for a full and fearless investigation into the circumstances in which Joe came to be murdered that will, hopefully, address some of the many remaining questions she has. This is just the beginning of the process by which Sam can learn about the wider circumstances leading up to Joe’s murder.”

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