Woman’s body rolled up in air mattress for six days after drugs party overdose

Two men who hid the body of a woman in a blow-up mattress have been jailed.

Cecilia Seddon died after Clayton Hawkes injected her with a mixture of cocaine and heroin.

Along with fellow drug pusher Blaze Fisher, Hawkes wrapped up the 32-year-old’s body and hid it under a bed.

The mum’s body lay undiscovered for six days.

Reading a victim impact statement to the court, Cecilia’s sister Ramona described how being told her sister had died was heartbreaking.

She said: “There was a piece of me who died that day.

“She was my little sister and without her I feel alone in the world.

“Our opposites made us closer and she was a light in the room and all smiles.

“The hardest part is when I look in my reflection and I catch glimpses of her.

“This makes me miss her even more.

“I feel robbed. I raised her as my own and never expected to live without her.

“Nobody deserves to be treated with such little respect.

“I will never understand what led these men to do such a horrible thing.”

During the trial at Truro Crown Court it was heard how in April 2018 Hawkes and Fisher were living at the one bedroom flat in Penzance dealing drugs along with one other person.

One of Hawkes’ customers was Miss Seddon, with whom he was having an affair.

During the trial witness Gavin Boyle told the jury how he had met Miss Seddon at the flat during a drug fuelled gathering on April 12 and 13.

Boyle, who Hawkes was also guilty of injecting with a ‘snowball’ of cocaine and heroin, was told by the drug dealer that Miss Seddon had left after a row.

It was at the party that Hawkes injected Miss Seddon with a ‘snowball’ which is believed to have killed her.

During a visit to Hawkes’ flat Mr Boyle described smelling something rotting, but was told by Hawkes it was gone-off meat in the fridge or rats in the wall.

The drug pushing duo then asked to move in with Mr Boyle due to the smell, telling him it was because of an eviction notice, even though the eviction date was some weeks away.

On April 18 police searched Hawkes’ flat for drugs but failed to find the body.

Hawkes and Fisher became panicky when hearing of the raid.

Fisher was then sent to check on the flat before Hawkes opened up to Mr Boyle.

He told him what he could smell was Miss Seddon’s body and that he’d injected her with a snowball causing her to overdose.

He went on to describe how she’d overdosed and that he’d hidden her in a taped up blow-up mattress along with her belongings.

The prosecution said the act was impossible to carry out alone and that it was Fisher who helped Hawkes.

By the jury’s verdict Hawkes was also convicted of injecting Mr Boyle with a similar cocktail of drugs.

Mr Boyle heard Hawkes and Fisher discussing how they might have disposed of her body, including the suggestion of putting it down a mineshaft.

The two men also laughed and joked about how police failed to find her while posing for photographs with weaponry such as samurai swords and machetes.

By the time Miss Seddon’s body was discovered it had decomposed to the extent that it was impossible for a pathologist to determine a cause of death.

Hawkes even told Miss Seddon’s sister Ramona on the phone that she’d stolen money and ran away.

Chillingly, Hawkes also poured whiskey down Miss Seddon’s throat and put drugs in her mouth to eliminate DNA after earlier sexual contact between them.

Fisher’s DNA was found on Miss Seddon’s calf and on the airbed, with Hawkes’ DNA located on Miss Seddon’s vagina which was discovered to have had a vibrator placed inside when wrapped in the airbed.

Both Fisher and Hawkes were sentenced to terms of imprisonment for drugs matters prior to charges relating to Miss Seddon’s death.

In mitigation it was heard how Hawkes acted in a state of panic.

The court heard that Fisher was, at the time, “young, naïve and impressionable”, but has now turned his life around and got himself free of drugs.

Sentencing Hawkes and Fisher, Judge Peter Johnson said the hiding of the body wasn’t done in blind panic due to the vibrator being placed partially inside her within the mattress.

Judge Johnson said: “I’m sure Hawkes believed his injection was what caused Miss Seddon’s death and knew that he was criminally responsible.

“Hawkes was also seen demonstrating animosity towards Miss Seddon at the party which probably caused him to be concerned he’d be accused of her murder.

“After this you continued to party as if nothing happened and scoffed at the police for not finding her body.”

A complaint against Devon and Cornwall Police regarding Cecilia not being found at the time of the search was later received and investigated by the Force’s Professional Standards Department.

The decision was that no officers or staff would be subject to disciplinary action.

Following an appeal made to the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC), the investigation was reviewed and the IOPC concurred with the Force’s decision and the appeal was not upheld.

Speaking after the verdict, Senior Investigating Officer, Detective Inspector Steve Hambly, said: “We welcome the verdict and sentencing that mark an end to this lengthy enquiry, and I hope it represents some limited closure to Cecilia’s family.

“Cecilia faced challenges in her life, but she did not deserve what happened to her, and was treated with no respect by those she considered friends and who could have helped her in the last moments of her life, or made an early report of her death.

“We may never know the exact circumstances as to why Cecilia died, and it is clear that those who could help explain how she died have done all they can to frustrate the enquiry and prevent the family having the answers they deserve.”

Hawkes, 52, of Albertus Gardens in Hayle and Fisher, 25, of Montague Avenue, Redruth appeared at Exeter Crown Court for sentencing.

Fisher had admitted perverting the course of justice and Hawkes was convicted by a jury of the same charge as well as two counts of administering a poisonous or noxious substance.

The trial was heard at Truro Crown Court but moved to Exeter Crown Court for sentencing.

Judge Johnson said the hiding of the body was “a cynical, callous act” and jailed Hawkes for 11 years.

Fisher, who he said was dependant of and under the influence of Hawkes, was jailed for three years and seven months.