Harold Hill mum Elisha Francois guilty of killing carpenter on New Year’s Day

A 21-year-old Harold Hill mum and her boyfriend have been found guilty of killing an Essex man on New Year’s Day in a “ferocious and cowardly attack”.

Oliver Smith-Daye, known as Oli, was beaten and stamped on shortly before 4.30am, in Trimley Close, Clacton, and died of head injuries at Colchester General Hospital later that day.

A jury found jobless Charlie Jacobs, 22, from Trimley Close, guilty of murder, and his unemployed girlfriend Elisha Francois, of Amersham Walk, Harold Hill, guilty of manslaughter on Friday, following a three-week trial at Chelmsford Crown Court.

A third man was found not guilty of any charge.

Francois was told by Judge Christopher Ball QC: “You must be under no illusions the sentence will mean a loss of liberty and do not be lulled into a false sense of security.”

The court heard that Mr Smith-Daye, 29, had been at a house party in Trimley Close - next door to where Jacobs and Francois staying at the time.

He left, but returned to retrieve keys and was confronted by pregnant Francois - who had been drinking and taking cocaine - because of the noise he was making.

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She was joined by Jacobs, and the pair attacked Mr Smith-Daye with such ferocity that he suffered fatal bleeding on the brain.

Speaking after the hearing, senior investigating officer, DCI Mark Hall, said: “Oliver had spent New Year’s Eve with friends, having nothing else on his mind other than to enjoy a few drinks, share some laughs and look forward to 2012. It was his misfortune that his path should cross with Charlie Jacobs and Elisha Francois. These two individuals, both of whom had a history of violent offending, had spent the evening drinking alcohol and taking cocaine. A trivial encounter resulted in a wholly unnecessary, ferocious and cowardly attack by these two defendants, who together viciously punched and kicked Oliver, before leaving him for dead.

I would like to pay tribute to Oliver’s family. Throughout this trial they have had to face Oliver’s killers and listen as they sought to place the blame on Oliver; a version of events which this jury has rejected. Despite their trauma and the ordeal of the trial, the family have conducted themselves with great integrity and dignity throughout. This approach has been in stark contrast to the behaviour of those convicted who have failed to accept responsibility for their actions, shown no remorse and sought at every opportunity to lie their way out of this case. It is my hope that these convictions will bring some comfort to Oliver’s family.”

In a joint statement, Mr Smith-Daye’s family, said: “Finally, Oli can rest in peace. He was full of love, joy and happiness; a bubbly, happy, out-going young man who always put others first. No one deserves to be murdered and definitely no one deserves to have their life taken away in such an horrendous, brutal and malicious manner, depriving a family of an opportunity to say their final goodbyes.

“In 2008, Oli registered as an organ donor and, because he was fit, strong and healthy before he died, his selfless act of registration was able to save the lives of two people and greatly improve those of four others, including a seven-year-old child.

“Something unbelievable happened so suddenly. Now we have to accept that someone we loved is no longer with us. It is hard and Oliver’s last moments of life seem so tragic. Our friends and family have been of tremendous support throughout this traumatic time and Oli leaves a huge gap to fill in many people’s lives.”

Jacobs and Francois will be sentenced on the week beginning September 3.