Three people who tortured, starved and beat woman from west London guilty of murder

11 December 2023, 16:19

Shakira Spencer was 'treated like a slave'
Shakira Spencer was 'treated like a slave'. Picture: Facebook/Metropolitan Police
Kieran Kelly

By Kieran Kelly

Three people have been found guilty of murdering a vulnerable woman who was tortured, starved and battered to death.

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Shakira Spencer died after falling under the influence of her former neighbour Ashana Studholme, 38, her lover Shaun Pendlebury, 26, and their friend Lisa Richardson, 44.

The trio treated Ms Spender "like a slave", scaling her feet and only feeding her ketchup sachets, the Old Bailey as told today.

The 35-year-old went from being a "beautiful, happy, healthy" size 16 to a "gaunt and skeletal" size six shortly before her death, jurors heard.

Shakira Spencer
Shakira Spencer. Picture: Facebook

Ms Spencer's badly decomposed body was found in September last yera after neighbours saw maggots coming from her flat in Ealing, west London.

The three defendants denied murder and preventing Ms Spencer's lawful burial.

All three defendants were found guilty of both charges on Monday.

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Jurors previously heard how Ms Spencer had been subdued and dominated mainly by Studholme and Richardson, putting her under their "complete control".

Ms Spencer became "isolated and robbed" of all self-respect, it was claimed to the court, and would only be woken to be sent to the shops.

Prosecutor Allison Hunter KC said: "In early 2021 Shakira Spencer had been a healthy - even voluptuous - size 16 weighing some 74kgs (11st 9lb).

"By July 2022 Shakira Spencer was just skin and bone. Gaunt and skeletal, bruised from head to foot, with hollowed black eyes. She was barely a scrawny size six in images taken by the defendants just before she died.

"For whatever was their unfathomable, cruel, sadistic motive, these three defendants tormented, tortured, starved, burned and eventually battered Shakira Spencer to death."

Ms Spencer became "isolated and robbed" of all self-respect, the court heard
Ms Spencer became "isolated and robbed" of all self-respect, the court heard. Picture: Metropolitan Police

The abuse reached a "frenzied climax" on around September 11 and 12 last year when Ms Spencer was beaten "to the brink of death" at Studholme's home, the jury was told.

She was bundled into the boot of Pendlebury's borrowed Honda Civic car and driven back to her flat, where she was locked in a hallway cupboard, it was claimed.

Ms Hunter said ice was packed around Ms Spencer in a primitive bid to slow decomposition.

Newspapers were carefully laid on the floor next to the bed as if Ms Spencer had been reading and died in her sleep, jurors heard.

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