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Chichester care home manager murdered by 'Jekyll and Hyde' jilted lover
A jilted lover has been found guilty of murdering his former girlfriend at her countryside cottage.
Care home manager Deborah Levey was found dead with love bites covering her neck and her mobile phone at the bottom of a goldfish tank.
Phillip Brown, from Selsey, was found guilty by a jury at Lewes Crown Court and will be sentenced for the mother-of-one’s murder on Monday.
The pair had endured a turbulent relationship after meeting at work in January 2012 and he killed her by smothering her face just over a year later – on January 28, 2013.
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Ms Levey, who lived in Cherry Tree Cottage in East Ashling, near Chichester, had told friends Brown had a "Jekyll and Hyde" character.
The 44-year-old, originally from Brighton, had sought to end her relationship with him in the autumn of 2012.
In the following weeks she received a string of abusive and threatening text messages including texts wishing her dead and pictures of Brown self-harming.
Brown, aged in his mid-40s, also sent a bogus complaint to her employers in an attempt to get her sacked, the court heard. But despite this the pair stayed in touch and they decided to meet at her home on January 27, while her 16-year-old daughter was at her father's home.
During the evening Brown smothered the mum before looking to cover his tracks.
He threw her mobile phone in a goldfish tank and created a back story for the evening which involved him sending retrospective text messages to give the impression he was never at the cottage.
The following morning a colleague discovered her body when picking her up for work.
She was found sitting upright in her cottage with a blanket tucked up around her love-bite covered neck.
At first detectives thought she had died from natural causes but further tests indentified she had been smothered and Brown was arrested.
Detective Superintendent Ian Pollard, of the Surrey and Sussex major crime team, described the investigation as "complex and painstaking”.
He said: “We worked very closely with forensic scientists and the pathologist, as well as with the Crown Prosecution Service and our counsel, Mark Dennis QC, to show that Brown's claim never to have been in Debbie's home on the day of her death was a lie.
“He evidently thought he could mask his evil act of smothering Debbie with a string of distractions, false clues and stories.
"But we were eventually able to show, to the satisfaction of the jury, that he was indeed the killer, and justice has now been done for Debbie and her family.”
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