Couple guilty of savage Eastmoor murder

Andrew Gittins
Andrew Gittins

A couple are facing life sentences after being convicted of the savage murder of a man in his own home.

Andrew Gittins and Michelle Swayne, both 41, were today (Friday) unanimously convicted of the murder of Kevin Childs at his flat in Park Lodge Lane in Eastmoor on February 6.

Michelle Swayne

Michelle Swayne

Mr Childs, 58, was beaten, bound and gagged. His face had been scratched with a fork and a large sock was later found stuffed in his mouth.

He had suffered more than 60 separate injuries.

But his death was not initially treated as suspicious until a pathologist removed a sock from his mouth a week after he was killed.

Swayne and Gittins were both arrested on February 18 but denied murder.

Leeds Crown Court heard how the homeless and alcoholic couple had turned up at the victim’s home on the night of the murder and asked to stay.

Gittins claimed he was asleep during the attack and knew nothing.

Mother-of-six Swayne later told police she had seen Gittins battering Mr Childs after he had walked in on the couple when they were in bed.

She admitted punching and kicking the victim, placing the sock in his mouth and scratching his face with a fork but denied intending to kill him or cause him serious bodily harm.

But the pair were found guilty by the jury of six women and four men at 12.20pm today.

Gittins and Swayne will be sentenced at a later date but the Recorder of Leeds Judge Peter Collier said he was duty bound by law to impose a life sentence.