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Monday, 10 December, 2001, 20:49 GMT
Man convicted of burnt body death
The body was found in a culvert near Clearbrook
The body was found in a culvert near Clearbrook
A Devon man has been convicted of murdering a pensioner and then dismembering his body and burning it on moorland.

Steven Williams, 41, from Plymouth, had pleaded not guilty at Plymouth Crown Court to murdering Ivor Dryer, 65.

Mr Dryer's remains were discovered in a ditch near Clearbrook on Dartmoor on 18 June.

He had been decapitated and his legs and arms removed before the remains were set on fire.

The judge told Williams that a life sentence was mandatory but adjourned sentencing until Tuesday at Exeter Crown Court to consider a psychiatric report.

Police on Dartmoor
Police made detailed searches of the area
Williams said he had repeatedly stabbed Mr Dryer in the back in self-defence after Mr Dryer, with whom he had been good friends, accused him of sleeping with his ex-wife and attacked him.

He then went to a dentist's appointment and a job interview and hired an industrial cleaner to try to get rid of some of the blood, the court was told.

The body was kept under Williams' bed for four days before, on 16 June, Williams got tools to dismember the corpse and then took the body on to Dartmoor the following day with the help of a friend.

The remains were dumped and set alight in the culvert near Clearbrook.

Williams then used the pensioner's mobile phone to make it look as if he were still alive.

He also visited Mr Dryer's home and rumpled the sheets to make it look as if he had slept there.

Majority verdict

Mr Dryer's remains were found by a couple from Clearbrook walking their dog.

In mitigation, Wendy Joseph said what had happened in Williams' bedsit was "totally out of character".

She said he did not suffer from any mental illness, but the events of the day of the death brought "a cloud down on this man's mind" leaving him unable to think clearly and properly.

After deliberating for more than four hours, the jury convicted Williams of murder by a majority of 11 to one.

Family grief

The judge told Williams: "You have been convicted on overwhelming evidence of killing your friend."

After the verdict, Detective Chief Inspector Jim Foley said the motive for the killing may never be known.

He said: "The dismembering of Mr Dryer's body and the attempted destruction of his remains has added to the grief of his family.

"In my opinion, it is an indication of the calculating evil of Steven Williams."

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See also:

03 Dec 01 | England
Man denies Dartmoor death
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