Daniel Palmer jailed for life for the murder of Joao Esteves in Crawley

Daniel Palmer jailed for life for the murder of Joao Esteves in Crawley

A 24-year-old man has been convicted of battering to death a Portuguese man he found wandering the streets in Crawley.
Daniel Palmer repeatedly punched Joao Esteves, 45, on the forecourt of Kwik Fit, off Haslett Avenue East, on Saturday 18 January before leading his victim to a nearby alleyway where he continued with the assault.
He filmed the injured Mr Esteves using his mobile phone after the attack at Kwik Fit and then took more pictures after he had left his victim lying critically wounded in the alleyway between Stephenson Way and Haslett Avenue East.
The body of Mr Esteves, from the Lisbon area of Portugal, was found at 3.25am on 19 January. He was taken to hospital suffering from serious head injuries but died later.
Mr Esteves had travelled to Britain from Portugal for a job interview but did not have anywhere to stay and was preparing to sleep rough for the night before catching a return flight home from Gatwick.
After the attack, Palmer went home and washed his clothes before changing and going back to the scene several hours later to watch and speak to police officers sealing off the area and beginning the investigation.
The jury at Lewes Crown Court was shown CCTV footage of Palmer helping Mr Esteves away from Kwik Fit. The footage shows the men going into the alleyway a few hundred metres away together before Palmer is later seen leaving the area on his own.
Palmer sent a photograph of the victim after the attack to a friend who alerted police after seeing news coverage of the murder. Palmer, of Maunsell Park, Station Hill, Crawley, was arrested and later charged with murder.
At Lewes Crown Court Palmer denied murder but was convicted after a four-week trial. He was jailed for life and told he would serve a minimum of 15 years.
Detective Chief Inspector Jason Taylor, who led the police investigation, said: “Palmer carried out a cowardly and vicious attack on Joao Esteves, who had done nothing to provoke him.
“He refused to answer questions about the attack but we were able to prove with CCTV, DNA evidence and witnesses that he caused Mr Esteves terrible injuries.
“Palmer later claimed that he had only acted in self defence, despite the fact that he assaulted Mr Esteves at two different locations.
“He even took photographs and filmed his victim after he had carried out the attack that he sent to friends almost as a trophy, as if to brag about what he had done.
“Mr Esteves was an innocent visitor to Sussex who had the misfortune to come across a violent thug who took his life.”
Nigel Pilkington, the head of the CPS South East Complex Casework Unit, said: “Our thoughts go out to Joao’s family for their terrible loss, made worse because the attack was so random.
“His path happened to cross that of the defendant’s, someone he had never met before that night, with absolutely tragic consequences.
“The evidence showed that Palmer was in a volatile mood, having previously been ejected from a local pub, after punching a man in the face. We will never know what the motivation was that night for the attack on Joao, but we do know from phone calls that Palmer made to friends that he admitted to “losing it” and that he believed he had killed his victim.
“Today’s verdict ensures he has been held to account for his actions.”
To watch a clip of Palmer leading his victim to the alleyway along Haslett Avenue East in Crawley before the fatal attack, and then returning on his own, visit youtu.be/czVEY64nx1w.

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