Canvey Island: Family of Matt Portwood thank officers as man convicted of murder
Main article content
The family of Matt Portwood have thanked our specialist detectives after their work ensured a man has been convicted of his murder.
Forty-two year-old Matt was fatally assaulted on Canvey Island as he sought to step in to try and break up a fight in the car park to Iceland at around 1.32am on Saturday 4 February this year.
The fight had broken out between two groups of people outside The Haystack pub at the junction of Furtherwick Road and Long Road.
Matt had been at the Haystack pub and saw the fight taking place.
A friend went over to try and intervene but was then assaulted, at which point Matt went over to help him.
At this point, one group - consisting of the man and woman - got into a vehicle and left.
One of the men from the other group – 24 year old Jamie-Lee Lewis – pushed Matt up against a hoarding and stabbed him.
He had been stabbed to the neck and, sadly, despite the best efforts of police officers and paramedics who attended, he died at the scene.
The trial heard that Lewis attempted to go back into The Haystack with his clothes covered in blood.
Phone work was also able to place him at the scene of the incident at the time it took place and he had been in The Haystack pub earlier in the evening.
Lewis, of Bensham Lane, Thornton Heath, was arrested in south London on 7 February.
He was later charged with murder and possession of a bladed article.
He was unanimously found guilty of the charges against him today (Tuesday 10 October) following a trial at Basildon Crown Court.
He is due to be sentenced at the same court at a date in December.
In a statement, Matt’s family said:
“We would like to firstly thank Essex police and the CPS over the past 5 weeks to help bring justice for Matt.
“We will never heal from our loss of Matt or from the trauma that we have endured. The children will never get their daddy back, a loss of a son and a brother, but we will hold on to the memories we have and that Matts spirit will always live on with the children.”
Matt’s parents added:
“The death of Matthew had a traumatic effect on his parents and sisters, and this is something that they will live with forever.
“They are extremely grateful to Essex Police and the CPS for bringing the person responsible to account and allowing some measures of closure”.
Detective Inspector Kev Hughes, who led the investigation, said:
“My immediate thoughts today, and those of my team, are with Matt Portwood’s friends and family. I am humbled by the stoic and dignified way they have conducted themselves throughout the case.
“The evidence demonstrated Matt and his friend were trying to act as peacemakers and, tragically, this has cost Matt his life.
“His attacker has shown no remorse for taking his life and, shockingly, seemed very comfortable with the extreme levels of violence involved in the assault on Matt.
“The team worked tirelessly, to secure the evidence in the case and to deliver Matt and his family justice.
“Lewis will now face a significant custodial sentence and while no conviction or term of imprisonment will ever bring Matt back, I hope this, and passage of time will help them to move forward.”
Another man - 28 year-old Keiron Aransibia, of Evelyn Denington, Beckton – was found not guilty of murder or manslaughter.
A third man - 60 year-old Keith Aransibia, of no fixed abode - had also been charged in connection with Matt’s death, however midway through the trial the defence submitted an application to the court that he had no case to answer.
The prosecution offered no opposition to the application and so the charges against him were dropped.