Phillip Lewis murder: Lee Clarke sentenced to life in prison

Crime / Tue 12th Mar 2024 at 01:46pm

THE family of Phillip Lewis have paid tribute to his “kindness and cheeky character” on the day a man has been sentenced to life in prison for his murder.

Lee Clarke, 56 of Wedhey, Harlow appeared at Chelmsford Crown Court on Tuesday 12 March where he was sentenced to life in prison, to serve a minimum of 20 years.

The sentence follows a four-week trial where a jury found Clarke guilty of murder, after killing his friend Phillip Lewis in Harlow in 2022.

59-year-old Phillip Lewis, who was known locally in Harlow as ‘Scottish Phil’ went missing in November 2022. His remains were located at Oakwood Pond in Harlow on New Years Eve. Following the discovery, a large investigation was launched by Essex and Kent Serious Crime Directorate.

Within four days of the discovery, Phillip had been identified and Lee Clarke had been arrested on suspicion of his murder.

After being charged with murder, he was remanded into custody. Following the charge, officers from across various teams at Essex Police continued enquiries in Harlow. The underwater searches at multiple locations formed an integral part of efforts to locate evidence. These searches resulted in the recovery of more human remains belonging to Phil.

Following a four-week-trial, beginning on Wednesday, 7 February, Lee Clarke was found guilty of murder.

He was given a life sentence and must serve at least 20 years in prison. 

Following the sentencing, Phillip’s son, Connor Lewis and his family and good friends have paid tribute to his dad, saying the following:

“The man everyone knew as Phillip Lewis, I knew as ‘Dad’

“He was kind, caring and friendly. A stranger was always a friend. My life will be forever changed because of the actions of one man.

“My dad Phillip will never see his grandchild’s beautiful smile and see them grow up and have days out at the park, zoo, seaside and be a Grandad.

“My dad enjoyed gardening and he was animal lover and music lover and loved to travel around the UK.
“Phillip loved to cook and enjoyed a variety of food. My dad was interested in antiques, loved motor mechanics and movies of all kinds.

“Phillip’s good friends will miss my dad’s kindness and cheeky character and his visiting them and sharing funny stories and having good times.

“The family across the UK have old memories, happy and sad, good times, and bad times.

“I will miss my dad’s voice at the end of the phone and our time together. My dad was not only my dad he was my best friend and confident.

“I loved my dad to the moon and back and my life will be empty without “pops” in it.

“His body may be gone but my Pops spirit will always be with me and the family and his good friends.

“Pops we all miss you and love you.”

Clarke chose to remain silent

Speaking outside court after the sentencing, D/Supt Rob Kirby said:

“Known locally as Scottish Phil, he lived in Harlow for many years before his life was cruelly cut short at the hands of Clarke.

“As unforgivable as this is, Clarke then went on to dismember the body and make several trips to local ponds and lakes to dispose of it piece by piece. It is simply incomprehensible, how somebody can do that to another human being.

“His actions have meant that despite painstaking searches over several weeks, we have not been able to recover all of Phillip’s remains. Clarke could have assisted us in order that Phil’s family could lay him to rest – but he instead chose to remain silent.

“Clarke thought that he had covered his tracks but forensic officers were able to find important evidence within Clarke’s flat showing that Phil had been killed there.

“I hope that today’s conviction/sentence will give Phil’s family some comfort in knowing his killer is behind bars where he belongs.

“This was a substantial homicide investigation involving teams from across Essex Police coming together to bring about this conviction. I want to particularly praise the search and dive teams who spent weeks conducting fingertip searches of dredged ponds which presented significant challenges.

“I want to thank the residents of Harlow. When this murder was reported, you came together as a strong community, showing the true spirit of the town. The residents around Oakwood Pond endured weeks of police activity, but were welcoming and understanding of the enormity of the task.

“Finally, I want to pay tribute to Phil’s family and friends in how they have conducted themselves during this difficult time.”

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9 Comments for Phillip Lewis murder: Lee Clarke sentenced to life in prison:

Paul bearer
2024-03-12 17:35:23

20 years!!! That’s to long, it’s manslaughter 8 years maximum

2024-03-12 18:14:42

You joking paul after what the bastard done If it was me sentencing him I would have brought the electric chair back.

To 'paul bearer'
2024-03-12 18:16:44

20 years is nowhere near long enough. This psycho should be locked up until he dies. Manslaughter? The jury, who have access to all the facts, say different.

2024-03-12 19:17:20

Horrific way to go but Phil was once my neighbour, burglar, driving stolen cars with cloned plates, druggie dealer and common their, if it wasn't nailed down he'd steal it, good riddance I say!!

2024-03-13 10:36:02

Andrew shut your mouth nasty brick that's someone's family your talking about.

Paul bearer
2024-03-13 10:46:38

Alcoholic, drug addict, life time of horrible crimes…. Live by the sword die by the black and decker saw!

2024-03-13 10:58:48

Paul shut your mouth

Paul bearer
2024-03-13 13:27:35

John mateeeee calm… It’s manslaughter mate. A punch up that got out of hand…

Paul bearer
2024-03-13 13:28:59

Poor John is very angry! Must be that time of the month xx