Two men jailed in connection with the death of a Penzance woman
Two men have been jailed for perverting the course of justice in connection with the death of Cecilia Seddon, 32, in Penzance in April 2018.
Both men had been accused of concealing Cecilia’s body after her death.
Blaze Fisher, 24, from Redruth pleaded guilty to the charge the day before his trial commenced on December 7.
Clayton Hawkes, 52, from Hayle, pleaded not guilty to the charge but was found guilty after a four-day trial at Truro Crown Court on Friday 11 December. Hawkes was also found guilty of two counts of administering a noxious substance – heroin and cocaine – to Cecilia and another man.
Hawkes was sentenced to 11 years in prison while Fisher was sentenced to three years and seven months, at Exeter Crown Court today, Thursday 17 December.
Cecilia’s body was located by police at a property on Penare Road, Penzance, on the evening of Thursday 19 April, 2018. She had last been seen at the address on Friday 13 April, where there had been a party involving around seven people.
Officers attended the address on Wednesday 18 April for an unrelated matter, finding the property to be in a very poor state, and did not locate Cecilia’s body which had been concealed.
A complaint against Devon & Cornwall Police regarding Cecilia not being found at this time was later received and investigated by the Force’s Professional Standards Department. The decision was that no officers or staff would be subject of 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.
The cause of Cecilia’s death remains unascertained, although levels of cocaine and heroin – at levels associated with fatalities – were found within her body.
After the discovery of Cecilia’s body, the Major Crime Investigation Team launched an investigation and the defendants, aged 49 and 22 at the time, in addition to a woman aged 27 at the time, were arrested on suspicion of murder. Following a complex and lengthy investigation and extended dialogue with the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), the matter was brought to trial.
In a statement, Cecilia’s family, said: “Cecilia was the light in the room, all smiles and a heart of gold. She was such a beautiful, loving, caring, amazing person and not a day goes by when we don’t miss her.
“No one deserves to be treated with such disregard and with so little respect in death. When they decided to hide Cecilia, they changed everything. To lose her was pain enough, but hiding Cecilia prolonged this limbo state of grief.
“It is totally soul destroying to think that people can be so cruel.”
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.”
Ann Hampshire, a Senior Crown Prosecutor for CPS South West, said: “The action taken by Mr Fisher and Mr Hawkes in concealing Cecilia’s body perverted the course of justice by delaying the investigation into her death and potentially destroying vital evidence that might have explained how Cecilia died. It also added greatly to the distress that her family has experienced.
“Mr Hawkes was also convicted of two charges of administering drugs, one of which related to injecting Cecilia with heroin and cocaine prior to her death. The other charge related to injecting a second person, also with heroin and cocaine.
“Devon and Cornwall police officers undertook a painstaking investigation and, as a result, the CPS was able to build a compelling case that resulted in Mr Fisher finally admitting his guilt and Mr Hawkes being convicted after a trial.”