Trio face life for murder

Murder victim Alan Easton.
Murder victim Alan Easton.
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A woman, her ex-lover and his pal face life behind bars after being convicted of murdering a man who they buried alive in a shallow grave.

Angela Dowling drove lover Alan Easton down a country lane on the outskirts of Doncaster – where he was attacked and buried in a makeshift grave by her ex-partner Stephen Schofield and his friend Matthew Duffy.

The 50-year-old was beaten, had his throat cut and was stabbed nine times before being buried.

Dowling, aged 48, and Duffy, 23, were yesterday convicted of murder. Schofield had previously admitted the charge.

Detective Inspector Leigh Sanders, who led the inquiry, said: “Their actions were reprehensible.”

Mr Easton had been a friend of the Dowling family for more than 10 years and formed a relationship with the mother-of-four after her husband died.

He moved from Scotland to Dowling’s home on Windmill Avenue, Conisborough, a week before his murder and they became engaged.

The trial heard the relationship turned sour several days later when Dowling discovered Mr Easton was not the wealthy man she thought he was.

She then falsely alleged to Schofield – her ex-lover who had lived at her home for the past five years – and his friend Duffy, that Mr Easton had acted inappropriately towards a teenage girl.

Mr Easton was found buried in Middle Cross Lane, Everton, last February.

Dowling and Duffy denied murder. Dowling said she did not know what happened to Mr Easton after he got out of her car. Duffy claimed he was asleep in the car while the murder was taking place. Schofield admitted murder.

Mark Bingham, aged 50, of Fishponds Road West, Woodthorpe, Sheffield, was cleared of murder.

Sentencing of Dowling, Schofield and Duffy was adjourned until May.