Wiltshire police team is praised for Roger Millar murder case work
5:30am Wednesday 15th January 2014 in By Beren Cross, @BerenCross
Collecting their accolades at the Wiltshire Police Awards at Devizes HQ. From left, Laura Lynch, Detective Sergeant Debi Ellender, Detective Inspector Matt Davey and Helen Worthington
FOUR members of the team which put two men behind bars for the revenge killing of Roger Millar in June 2012, were commended at an awards ceremony.
The Wiltshire Police Force awards ceremony at police headquarters in Devizes provided an opportunity for those officers who had been commended by judges or given long service, to be recognised.
Four of those commended were Detective Inspector Matt Davey, and DS Debi Ellender, Helen Worthington and Laura Lynch, who were all put forward by Justice Haddon-Cave at Bristol Crown Court following the murder investigation.
DI Davey said the awards were recognition of all the hard work put in by his team on what was a complex and confusing case.
He said: “The award is recognition of a big team effort as a result of a long-running and complex inquiry.
“The biggest challenge was being faced with investigating what was in effect, a murder, and the persons responsible were not readily apparent. Pulling together evidence like that is not easy.
“It was a massive amount of work just bringing together all the CCTV. Then you had to decipher and analyse endless phone data.”
Two drug dealers were jailed for more than 36 years for the murder of the former soldier in a Rodbourne street.
The 44-year-old, a former soldier with the Royal Engineers, was found with knife wounds in Barnum Court in June 2012.
Shelton Sibanda, 20, was jailed for life and ordered to serve at least 22 years behind bars by Mr Justice Haddon Cave at the Royal Courts of Justice, in central London.
His associate, Christopher Simmonds, 28, of Mundania Road, East Dulwich, south London, was jailed for 14 years and eight months.
He was found guilty of mans-laughter following a six-week trial at Bristol Crown Court. He had previously admitted perverting the course of justice.
Sibanda, of no fixed address, admitted chasing and stabbing Roger in the back with a hunting knife in revenge for being ambushed at a pre-arranged drug deal by Roger’s group earlier on in the evening of June 5.
At the height of the investigation, DI Davey said there was a team of more than 60 people working on the case, with as many as five days of 18 to 20-hour shifts.
“Every major crime investigation you are involved in adds levels to your experience,” he said.
“This wasn’t my first major case, but it will stand me in good stead for the future.
“But again, I just want to say the efforts of the whole team have been rewarded by these awards.”
DI Davey said DS Ellender acted as his sounding board throughout the inquiry.
He said she played a crucial role in making key decisions at the start of the investigation which paid off in the long-term.
Helen Worthington was an analyst on the inquiry.
She and her team were commended on pulling together and assessing the large amount of telephone data which came out of the 10-month investigation.
Laura Lynch was commended on her role in securing CCTV footage from the area which surrounded the area.
She worked through the tapes and provided crucial evidence which helped in the convictions.