Murdering trio tried to burn body

Three men have been found guilty of murder after they fatally attacked a man, buried his body and tried to set it on fire, police said.

Christopher Charles, 49, Charlie Chase, 25, and Paul Chambers, 49, brutally killed Leonard Adams, known as Lennie, between October 13 and 16, 2011.

Mr Adams' family paid tribute to their loved one who "danced to his own tune" following the verdict at Winchester Crown Court.

The court heard Mr Adams was beaten with a sharp weapon, most likely to be an axe, before he was strangled and buried in a shallow grave a mile and a half from his home.

The 43-year-old had lived a fairly quiet life in a caravan in the grounds of a disused pub, The Kingsettle Arms, Semley, Wiltshire. He was trying to kick his drug habit and had been living there for some time before Charles, Chase and Chambers joined him in July 2011.

But when the landowner told Mr Adams they would all be evicted, tension built up within the group. On the afternoon of October 14 Mr Adams was attacked by the men and despite losing a significant amount of blood none of them tried to get him any medical help.

Shortly after 5pm a witness saw a silver car driving away from the Kingsettle site with a cracked windscreen. As the vehicle turned, the witness saw a man covered in blood sit up in the rear of the car. Forensic evidence later confirmed this was Mr Adams.

The next day a farmer went to check on his animals in a field near Marshes Farm, when he discovered Mr Adams' body in a shallow grave. He had been badly beaten - a number of injuries consistent with being struck with a sharp weapon such as an axe and injuries to his neck consistent with being strangled.

His killers buried him and at some point tried to set fire to his body, police said. Charles, Chase and Chambers were arrested at the Kingsettle site during the night of October 16.

The trio, of Station Road, Semley, will be sentenced on July 16 at Winchester Crown Court.