Canvey Island: Man jailed for life for murder of Matt Portwood
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Specialist officers and staff have secured justice for the family of Matt Portwood after the man convicted of his murder was jailed for life.
Matt, 42, was fatally assaulted as he tried to step in and break up a fight in the Iceland car park on Canvey Island shortly after 1.30am on Saturday 4 February 2023.
Jamie-Lee Lewis, 25, stabbed Matt after he and a friend sought to intervene in a fight between two people outside The Haystack pub.
Matt had been in the pub and had seen the fight taking place.
Despite the best efforts of police and paramedics who attended, sadly, he died at the scene.
At his trial, a jury heard Lewis returned to The Haystack with his clothes covered in blood after the attack.
Phone work was also able to place him at the scene of the incident at the time it took place, and in The Haystack pub earlier in the evening.
Lewis, of Bensham Lane, Thornton Heath, was arrested in South London on 7 February 2023.
He was later charged with murder and possession of a bladed article.
He was unanimously found guilty of the charges against him on Tuesday 10 October 2023 following a trial at Basildon Crown Court.
At the same court today, (Thursday 11 January), Lewis was sentenced to life imprisonment, to serve minimum term of 24 years (less time served on remand).
He was also sentenced to 18 months, which will be served concurrently in relation to the bladed article.
"Matt was acting as peacemaker"
Detective Inspector Kev Hughes, who led the investigation, said:
“My thoughts today are with Matt’s family and friends, the compassionate manner in which they have supported each other and conducted themselves throughout the case has been testament to their strength of character.
“Matt was acting as peacemaker; he was simply trying to protect & assist with a situation and tragically this intervention cost him his life.
“The evidence identified Mr. Lewis was carrying & then used a knife in the attack on Matt, his cowardly actions will now see him spend a significant amount of time in prison.
“Whilst I know, no custodial sentence will ever bring Matt back, I hope this important milestone will help his family and friends move forward.”
"We will never heal from this loss"
Following Lewis’ conviction, Matt’s family said in a statement:
“We would like to firstly thank Essex police and the CPS who together helped 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 Matt’s 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”.
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