Pitsea man convicted of murder

A man is facing a life-sentence for the murder of Madison Wright in Pitsea.

Madison, 30, was last seen leaving her home in Delhi Road at around 8.30am on Friday 22 July last year.

She then went on to her work as cleaner in the local area before going to see her partner, 37 year-old Garry Bennett, at his home address in Caister Drive, arriving shortly after 11am.

Ms Wright had sent text messages to Bennett over the course of the morning, telling him she was not happy in their relationship and he was controlling.

She was not seen again and was reported missing on the following Monday (July 25).

Police began a missing person investigation and as that progressed, officers believed that, sadly, Madison was no longer alive.

At that point her disappearance was treated as murder and Bennett was arrested.

As part of the initial missing person investigation, Bennett told officers that Madison had said she needed space, told him not to contact her, and only remained at the address in Caister Drive for around 10 minutes, leaving between 11.15am and 11.30am.

He told officers that he had noticed her car was still outside and remained there until the Sunday July 24 when it was moved.

It was found two days later in Brackendale Avenue.

He also claimed he had received a message from Madison on July 22 stating that she loved him but needed a break and that she had sent him money she had owed him.

Madison’s former partner also said he had received a message from someone claiming to be her on the same day.

Analysis showed Madison’s phone had been at Caister Drive when the message had been sent before then going off the network

An extensive search was carried out and her body was discovered in the Watt Tyler Country Park on July 30.
Investigators identified that Madison’s car had been driven firstly to Wickford Avenue at around 3am on July 24, and then Brackendale Avenue shortly after 4.10am.

CCTV footage also shows a man matching Bennett’s description walking from the direction of Brackendale Avenue at around 4.50am, contradicting his statement that he only realised Madison’s car had been moved later on that day.

His DNA was also found on a fence post found on top of Madison’s body.

A forensic analysis of his phone also showed he searched for information and news stories relating to the Watt Tyler Country Park and the murder investigation.

Due to the style of the text messages sent to Bennett and Madison’s former partner, and how they differed to the usual style of Madison’s messages, detectives suspected these had actually been sent by Bennett.

In the hours after police believe Madison was murdered, they established Bennett had used an account on a dating website.

Bennett was later charged with murder and, following a trial at Basildon Crown Court, was found guilty today (Tuesday March 28).

He is due to be sentenced at the same court tomorrow.

Senior investigating officer Detective Inspector Kev Hughes said: “Our immediate thoughts go to Madison’s family and friends. The dignity, humility and decorum they have demonstrated throughout the investigation and trial has been remarkable to witness.

“No one should lose a daughter, a mum, a loved one, in the manner in which they lost Madison.

“It has been a truly humbling experience to be part of the team which has delivered the justice she deserved.”

Mick Ferris

Editor Email: mickferris@yellowad.co.uk