Two men found guilty of Dudley woman's killing

Two men have today been found guilty for their part in the killing of woman in Tipton last year.

Nathan Maynard-Ellis and his partner David Leesley carried out a gruesome crime which devastated Julia Rawson’s family and friends and shocked and saddened the local community.

Julia, aged 42, from Dudley, had spent the day out with friends before ending up in the Bottle and Cork pub in Dudley later on the evening of Saturday 11 May; she was tragically never seen by her loved ones again.

She was reported missing on 14 May after family and friends were concerned that they hadn’t heard from her and she’d not attended work.

A missing persons search was carried out and as part of those enquires, officers were able to determine that Julia had a chance meeting with a man and they were seen leaving the pub in a taxi at around 2am on the Sunday morning. 

This CCTV was circulated and a breakthrough came when a local security guard in Dudley town centre contacted local officers to say he thought he’d seen the man. Local officers stopped Maynard-Ellis on 22 May.

He denied meeting Julia and said he didn’t believe the man in the imagery was him. However officers were confident it was him as he’d shown Julia some distinctive tattoos on his arms. He was arrested on suspicion of kidnap.

Detectives visited the flat which Maynard-Ellis shared with his partner Leesley in Mission Drive, Tipton which is situated near to a canal and a wooded area. They met with search advisors who had already commenced some line searches of the area to see if there was anything of interest.

CCTV enquires showed Maynard-Ellis and Leesley walking away from the flat on many occasions with carrier bags, casually walking down the canal.

Further enquires also revealed that they had purchased new carpet. Upon further searching officers lifted the new carpet and found a stain underneath which was forensically examined and found to be blood. This DNA matched Julia’s and police were now certain she’d come to harm.

On the afternoon of 12 June, officers made a grim discovery. A search dog found a bag which contained human body parts, another bag was found around 20 metres away. The body parts had been wrapped tightly in plastic bags, one was slightly torn which had allowed the dog to pick up on the scent.

Following specialist forensic analysis, officers were able to confirm that they had discovered Julia’s body.

Following a four week trial at Coventry Crown Court, Maynard-Ellis, aged 30, and David Leesley, aged 25, from Mission Drive, Tipton were found guilty of murder.

Maynard-Ellis was also found guilty of rape, and threats to kill, in relation to another woman.

Both men will be sentenced later. A spokesperson for Julia’s family said:

“Julia [was] easy-going and quick to make friends with anyone she met. She was a talented artist and musician, with the ability to play by ear. Her drawings were shown at local art shows.

“Her death has had a devastating impact on us, the mutilation of her body and the callous way in which her remains were scattered has revolted us. We can only pray Julia knew nothing about these abhorrent acts.

“We are a close and loving family, clinging to each other in an attempt to support each other through this harrowing ordeal, but shall remain deeply affected and troubled by these events for the rest of our lives because Julia’s loss is felt as keenly today as when we heard she had first gone missing." 

Detective Inspector Jim Colclough, from the force homicide team, added:

“This is simply a tragic case. The actions of Maynard-Ellis and Leesley are incomprehensible. Julia did nothing wrong that evening. The way in which she was murdered and treated in death are despicable. 

“Julia’s family, friends and the wider community in which this horrific killing has occurred are left devastated by the cruel actions of the pair.

“Fortunately depraved crimes like this are rare, but their actions were sickening and it’s been a complex and emotionally difficult case for us as officers to investigate.

“However we were determined to seek justice for Julia and I hope their guilty verdicts provide some solace for her loved ones. My thoughts remain with them at this difficult time."


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