Sadistic trio who kept woman as a torture slave are guilty of murder

BREAKING NEWS Sadistic trio who kept woman as a torture slave are found guilty of murdering her after bleeding her dry of money and leaving her in a cupboard to die

  • Shakira Spencer was found dead in her flat in Hanwell on September 25 last year
  • Ashana Studholme, Shaun Pendlebury and Lisa Richardson convicted of murder

A trio of sadistic killers who kept a woman alive with sachets of ketchup as they enslaved, tortured and beat her to death have been found guilty of murder.

Shakira Spencer, 35, was found dead by police at her home in Hanwell, west London, after a neighbour spotted maggots crawling from under her front door on September 25, 2022.

Ashana Studholme, 38, her boyfriend Shaun Pendlebury, 26, and friend Lisa Richardson, 44, all denied but were convicted of murder and preventing a lawful burial by an Old Bailey jury today after a three month trial.

Ms Spencer was once a ‘voluptuous size 16’ but she was reduced to ‘skin and bone’ by July last year. 

Studholme befriended Ms Spencer and slowly took over her life and finances while Pendlebury moved into her flat.

Ms Spencer was forced to sleep under newspapers in the hallway at Studholme’s home.

Shakira Spencer was found dead in her flat in Hanwell, west London, after a neighbour raised the alarm

The Old Bailey previously heard that 35-year-old was burned with a makeshift blowtorch, had boiling water poured over her, was fed only sachets of ketchup and was forced to sleep on newspapers in the hallway of one of the defendant’s homes in Harrow

The killers treated her as her slave and enjoyed torturing her with a makeshift blowtorch and boiling water poured on her from a kettle.

When they had tired of their sadism, they bundled her into the boot of a car and drove her back to her flat at Lambert House, Holbeck Row, where Ms Spencer was locked in a cupboard while they waited for her to die.

They then moved her to a bunk bed where the body was left rotting for two weeks.

Prosecutor Allison Hunter, KC, said earlier: ‘For whatever was their cruel, sadistic motive, these three defendants tormented, tortured, starved, burned, and eventually battered Shakira to death.

‘Over the months leading up to her murder the defendants, primarily Studholme and Richardson subdued and dominated Shakira so totally that she was under all of their complete control.

‘She was isolated from everyone she had previously known, her freewill seemingly sapped and stolen from her.

‘They stole her self-respect, her finances, took over her flat, treated her like a slave, ordering her wake up in the early hours of the morning to clean their houses, sending her to the shops to do their errands, feeding her only on sachets of ketchup and then in circumstances of unbelievable depravity, boasted about and on occasion photographed and filmed what they did and were intending to do to her.

‘This was the slow erosion of a human being over many months culminating in what the Crown says was a sustained, frenzied and almost feral attack over several days – scalding her, blowtorching her, hitting her head, whipping her with belts and hitting with fists and a glass bottle.

‘When that didn’t kill her outright she was bundled into a boot, taken to her own flat and locked in a cupboard and denied even food or water until she died.

‘She was then left to rot in a bed as they attempted to mop up anything showing their involvement.

‘Shakira Spencer was clearly perceived by these defendants as a species less than human.’

Jurors had deliberated for nearly 18 hours to reach verdicts and were excused by the judge from jury service for life due to the ‘harrowing nature’ of the case. 

Ms Spencer (pictured) had been fed just sachets of ketchup as she was enslaved, tortured and shrunk to ‘skin and bone’, the Old Bailey has heard

Ashana Studholme, 38, her boyfriend Shaun Pendlebury, 26, and friend Lisa Richardson, 44, all denied but were convicted of murder and preventing a lawful burial by an Old Bailey jury today after a three month trial (pictured: Hanwell)

Devi Kharran, senior Crown prosecutor, said: ‘Evidence presented during the trial proved that Pendlebury, Studholme and Richardson exercised twisted and sadistic control of Shakira Spencer over an extended period. 

They spun a web of lies in every effort to hide their actions. ‘The CPS built a strong case against them using video footage filmed by the defendants themselves, mobile phone evidence, forensic analysis, and a confession from Shaun Pendlebury himself to prove beyond doubt that they were responsible for her death. 

‘The level of suffering that Shakira endured is simply unimaginable. Our thoughts remain with all of Shakira’s family and friends. I hope this conviction brings them some sense of justice.’ 

Studholme beat Ms Spencer around the head with a bottle in the bedroom leaving blood splattered on the walls.

She texted Richardson and said ‘I’ve buss her head in. I need you here, I will go to jail.’

Pendlebury then chased her with a ‘blowtorch’ made of a lighter and aerosol before the killers beat her in the kitchen and poured boiling water on her feet.

In the evening of 12 September the victim was bundled into the boot of a red Honda Civic motor vehicle borrowed by Pendlebury from his aunt.

The couple bought kebabs and and were captured laughing joking as they returned to Studholme’s home.

They then began an intensive clean-up operation at Studholme’s house, buying materials with money from Ms Spencer’s bank accounts.

By the time Ms Spencer was killed, Studholme was ‘in receipt of all of her benefits and had control of all of her finances’.

Studholme was caught with Ms Spencer’s personal documentation including bank accounts, disability allowance applications and Nationwide Trust fund documents.

Richardson said she saw the assaults on Ms Spencer by Pendlebury and Studholme but was not involved.

She sent a series of messages mocking and abusing Shakira.

Jurors were told on 14 July, that she sent a message to Carla Gilmaney saying: ‘I’ve just f*ck this b*tch up this b*tch…she ant going no we’re xx iamvgoing smash hur up nah joke.’

She sent another message saying she was going to ‘mash up’ Ms Spencer.

Richardson denied that she was controlling Ms Spencer and forcing her to clean her house.

She said she did not know how badly Ms Spencer was injured because when she asked her something she ‘could only say bub, bub, bub.’

Police officers were called to the home of Ms Spencer in Hanwell, west London after a neighbour spotted maggots crawling from under her front door on 25 September 2022 

Pendlebury claimed he didn’t intervene when Studholme beat Ms Spencer to death because it ‘wasn’t his house’.

‘It’s not my place to do anything, it’s not my house,’ he told the jury.

He said that on 11 September he went into the kitchen and saw Studholme slapping Ms Spencer ‘dragging her, pulling her around and pushing her up against the cupboard door.

‘I saw Lisa dragging Shakira about and I think she kicked and stamped on her a couple of times.’

He said: ‘I didn’t get involved I just went about my business. I didn’t have no part. It had got to a point where seeing this just felt normal.

‘It was just another day, sadly. This happened every day with them.’

He said he didn’t call an ambulance because Ms Spencer was ‘a whole adult who knows her body.’

He then went to his uncle’s house and confessed to abusing Ms Spencer and asked him if he could get him a ticket to the Seychelles where his grandmother lived.

His uncle later contacted the police.

Pendlebury said Studholme has an overbearing character and he felt dominated by her, and that he has a low IQ, anxiety and a ‘highly compliant nature.’

Shaun Pendlebury’s mother Michelle said Studholme controlled her son and Richardson.

She said on one occasion Studholme had made her hit Ms Spencer herself.

She told police: ‘She’ll make you hit her too. She gets you riled up and you don’t even know why you’re just worked up.

‘She wants you under her feet every 24 hours of a day. I felt like I was there every single day.

‘I was at hers every single day, it was ‘Michelle, can you do this, do that..’

‘Even with partners she treated them like dogs.

‘If you don’t do what she says she’ll hit you mate, she kicks, she doesn’t care.’

Studholme did not give evidence at trial but previously served time in custody for punching and kicking a woman in the back.

The prosecutor told the court: ‘They stole her home…took over her finances, controlled her whereabouts, destroyed her clothes, cut off most of her hair and they beat her.

‘They scorched her, burnt her, beat her with a massager, left her to urinate herself and then they bundled her into the boot of a car, shoved her battered and bruised into a cupboard and left her to die.

‘They are guilty of murder, and it really is murder of the most foul.

‘They are guilty of denying a decent burial and I hope you do not lose one second of sleep if you do find them so.’

Pendlebury, of Tewkesbury Road, Richardson, of Broomcroft Avenue, both Ealing, and Studholme, of Greenhill Road, Harrow, all denied but were convicted of murder and preventing a lawful burial.

Judge Angela Rafferty KC ordered reports and remanded the three in custody ahead of sentencing in the new year.

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