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Last Updated: Wednesday, 16 May 2007, 17:32 GMT 18:32 UK
Gambia death was unlawful killing
Kate and William West
Kate West is on trial in the Gambia accused of murdering her husband
A coroner has said he is satisfied that an East Sussex man found dead in the Gambia last July was murdered.

The body of William West, 76, who lived in St Helen's Park Road, Hastings, was found near his holiday home after he was reported missing by his wife.

Kate West, 26, had admitted his murder at previous court hearings in the Gambia, but she is now on trial and has denied the charge.

An unlawful killing verdict was recorded at an inquest on Wednesday.

The inquest in Hastings heard from Det Insp Paul Phelps, from Sussex Police, travelled to the country in August last year to assist the investigation.

He told East Sussex coroner Alan Craze that Mrs West had claimed she and her husband took a day trip by ferry to Senegal on 3 July.

Gambian house
Mr West's charred remains were found near his holiday home

She claimed he went missing after going into a shop, and that she went back to their holiday home in the Gambian fishing village of Sanyang thinking Mr West may have caught the return ferry without her.

Det Insp Phelps said at the inquest: "Inquiries revealed no such day trip to Senegal took place and that she confessed to his murder with a wooden pestle.

"She then dragged his body down the garden, [and] collected up bundles of logs, leaves and petrol to burn his body."

Mr West's charred remains were found in a sack on 30 July

His wife had returned to the UK following his disappearance before going back to the Gambia to register him as officially missing.

Mrs West's murder trial at Banjul High Court could run until 2008.

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