36-year-old Clinton Kennard Bailey, an IT specialist, of Malpas Road, Lewisham, SE4, was found guilty of murdering and unlawfully disposing the body of 37-year-old Leah Questin, in September 2009.
He has been sentenced to life imprisonment with a minimum of 30 years for murder and 5 years for disposal of Leah’s body. This will be served in concurrent sentences.
Detective Chief Inspector Jacqueline Sebire, of the Metropolitan Police Service Homicide and Serious Crime Command [HSCC], said:
"Leah died at the hands of Clinton Bailey who, during their short relationship, deceived her and took advantage of her generosity. Following her death, Bailey emptied out Leah’s bank account of the money she had worked incredibly hard to save. He has throughout the investigation lied and denied ever murdering Leah, showing no remorse for his actions. Despite this we have proved otherwise.
"There is no excuse or explanation for Clinton Bailey’s actions. I would like to send my respects and thanks to Leah’s friends and family for the support and courage that they have shown throughout the trial and investigation."
During a two-week trial at the Old Bailey, the court heard details of how the pair met. Leah Questin, a care nurse, had come to the UK from the Philippines in 2008 specifically to fund her education in health care. Leah had a relatively small circle of friends and colleagues. She used the internet as a way of meeting people. In mid August 2009, she responded to an advert posted by Bailey. The pair met and then formed what the prosecution believe she hoped was the beginning of a romantic relationship.
During this brief four-week period, Bailey persuaded Leah to devote her time and attention to him. Leah even leant him money whenever he asked for it.
In mid September 2009, Leah was reported as missing to the MPS Missing Persons Unit at Brent by a friend who had not seen her and was growing concerned for her safety.
London wide media appeals to trace Leah then followed, during which CCTV stills of her alighting a route 172 bus on 12 September 2009, in Elephant and Castle were released.
On 24 September 2009 a member of the public alerted officers at Kent Constabulary to a suitcase abandoned in a dried-up pond, known locally as The Old Pond, by farmland off Buckland Road in Cliffe, near Rochester. Local officers attended to find a badly decomposed body within the suitcase. The deceased was identified as Leah Questin and a murder investigation was launched by The Metropolitan Police Service.
A post-mortem examination took place on 25 September and the results of this were inconclusive.
During the subsequent investigation, officers from the Missing Persons Unit together with detectives from the HSCC, quickly established a link between Leah and Clinton Bailey.
Officers discovered that Bailey had made a series of cash machine withdrawals from Leah’s savings account between 12-21 September 2009, completely draining her savings.
Furthermore, Bailey, who had kept hold of Leah’s mobile phone following her death, had continued to send text messages to close friends and on occasions himself, in an attempt to suggest that she was still alive and in contact with people. Bailey had also kept and used Leah’s Oyster Travelcard during this time.
The suitcase and padlock in which Leah’s body was discovered in was found to be purchased by a man matching Bailey’s appearance, at a shop inside the Elephant and Castle Shopping Centre.
On the 29 September 2009, Clinton Bailey was arrested at his home address on suspicion of murder and charged on 1 October.