Samuel Church jailed for murdering Vincent Markham
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A man who tried to cover-up a murder by setting fire to his victim’s home has been handed a life sentence with a minimum of term of 20 years in prison before he is eligible for parole after an application to vacate his guilty plea was refused by a judge.
Samuel Church, 37, previously admitted the murder of Vincent Markham and setting a fire which destroyed his victim’s home.
Church, of Acacia Avenue, Spalding, had been due to stand trial at Lincoln Crown Court in February last year after previously pleading not guilty to murdering Mr Markham, aged 52.
However, before the trial began, Church entered a guilty plea to murdering Mr Markham on 7 August, 2022, and a second charge of perverting the course of justice by setting a fire at the property in Farrow Road, Whaplode Drove.
Sentence was due to take place in May last year, but that hearing was adjourned after Church indicated that he wanted to vacate his guilty plea to murder.
Church appeared at Warwick Crown Court in October but an application to vacate his guilty plea was refused by a judge.
He has today, Friday, 19 January, appeared at Lincoln Crown where he was sentenced to 20 years for murder and will serve a concurrent 45 months for perverting public justice.
The court heard that emergency services had received several reports of a fire at the Farrow Road property on 7 August. This was at the same time that Mr Markham was located in the front garden of the Farrow Road property.
Mr Markham sadly died at the scene, and it was initially believed that he had died because of the fire. It later became apparent that he had sustained facial and head injuries with a post-mortem examination concluding that Mr Markham had died following an assault.
Church was located in the Broadgate junction area with burn injuries.
He told a member of the public, who came to his aid, that he had tried to get someone out of the fire. He was taken to hospital to be treated, but following his release was arrested and charged with murder and perverting the course of justice.
Detective Inspector Adrian Czajkowski, from the East Midlands Special Operations Unit, said: “The attack that Vincent Markham suffered was brutal and Church tried to cover his tracks by setting fire to his home to make it look like an accident.
“These two men were known to one another and although the motive was not clear, we believe that an ongoing feud may have led to the attack.
“This was a very tragic incident and our thoughts are with Mr Markham’s family. We hope today’s result brings some closure to the family.”
The family of Vincent have released a tribute that we will publish in a seperate release.