'Psychopath' builder who killed two escorts then burned one in an oil drum guilty of murder

1 December 2022, 12:06 | Updated: 1 December 2022, 12:31

Leah Ware and Alexandra Morgan
Leah Ware and Alexandra Morgan. Picture: Alamy

By Stephen Rigley

A self-confessed "psychopath" who killed two women then burned one in an oil drum has been found guilty of murder.

Builder Mark Brown, 41, killed mum-of-three Leah Ware, 33, in May and Alexandra Morgan, 34, who both worked as escorts, at a remote farm near St Leonards in East Sussex in November last year.

He then set single mother Alexandra alight in an oil drum near a skip where police later discovered burned bone fragments and teeth.

The body of 33-year-old Ms Ware has never been found, but the prosecution believe he used a similar method – as well as also killing her Pomeranian dog, Lady.

The jury of 10 men and two women at Hove Crown Court took 10-and-a-half hours to convict Brown of both murder charges today.

His Honour Judge Nicholas Hilliard KC told Brown: "There is only one sentence which can be passed and that is imprisonment for life." 

The judge said he would decide by January if he would be jailed with no possibility of parole.

Judge Hilliard asked Brown to tell the family of Ms Ware what he did with her before he is sentenced next month, adding: "If he wishes to confirm what he had done with Leah Ware's body, he has that chance.

"With Alexandra Morgan, if he lied about why she was being lured to the farm, the question is what his plans were.

"They must have involved violence and sexual activity against her will and for some time. The question is what would have happened when it was over. How does he prevent her from reporting it? Murdering her would be a way of doing that. Knowing that he had already successfully disposed of one body.

"Alex was more suspicious of him than he knew and it would not have taken much to confirm her suspicions."

Jurors heard how both women worked as sex workers and met Brown through the adultwork.com website.

Ms Ware was kept in a shipping container at the farm as a modern sex slave by Brown. She had been forced to live in the container inside a barn rented by Brown at the remote farm near Hastings.

Brown groomed Ms Morgan as her replacement before murdering her and burning her body head first in the oil drum.

He then dumped her remains in a skip at the building site where he worked in Sevenoaks, Kent.

Brown claimed she died in an accident at the farm after hitting her head when she slipped in his workshop and he burned her body “in a panic”.

He told the jury he and Ms Ware broke up in early 2021 and, as far as he knows, she is still alive.