Essex crime: Child abuser, killer, and fake delivery man all appear in Essex courtrooms this week

This week another group of Essex criminals have passed through the county’s courts for their crimes. There have been a vast array of cases heard in the criminal courts, including a killer who took the lives of three people and a burglar who raided the home of a family stealing their car and other valuables while they slept.

In each of these cases, the crimes were laid bare, and then the accused will have their barrister mitigate and explain the situation surrounding them. The crimes detailed this week took place across the county and beyond – including Southend-on-Sea, Basildon, Colchester and even up in Cambridgeshire. Here is a rundown of everything that took place:

Read more: Court reports and breaking crime news from across Essex

Ben Atthis – child abuser

Ben Atthis, 34, of no fixed address, Southend, has been sent to jail for four years
Ben Atthis, 34, of no fixed address, Southend, has been sent to jail for four years
(Image: Essex Police)

The child victims of Ben Atthis and Lissa Field disclosed the abuse they had been subjected to which led to the pair being arrested in March 2019. Atthis, of no fixed address, but from Southend, denied charges of abusing the children. He was found guilty last month during his trial. The 34-year-old was jailed for a total of four years at Southend Crown Court on March 10.

Field, of Prospect Close, Southend escaped jail time after admitting to four counts of wilfully ill-treating a child to cause unnecessary suffering in 2019. The 32-year-old was given a 22-month prison sentence suspended for two years at the same hearing as Atthis.

The court heard how the pair had treated the children including being verbally abused, locked in rooms, and made to collect drugs. Essex Police went on to praise the victims, saying they showed “incredible courage” in sharing the abuse they had suffered.

Tom Saunders – A ‘sadistic’ killer suffering from Paranoid Schizophrenia

The cordon in Colchester

Tom Saunders has been handed a life sentence and detained under the Mental Health Act for three killings, which took place in Colchester, the victims of which included his two nephews Jason and Danny Gibson.

Saunders, 35, had previously admitted killing his nephews along with their friend Richard Booth on the evening of October 5, 2019. If he is ever deemed fit to be discharged from a secure hospital before being eligible for parole, he will be transferred to prison.

Brothers Jason and Danny were found dead inside a flat in Wellesley Road shortly before 12.30am on October 6 while Richard was found dead in a car parked in a communal car park outside. Police officers had gone to the address after concerns were raised about the people inside. Saunders, of Bournstead Road, Colchester was later charged with murder but went on to admit manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility due to him living with paranoid schizophrenia, and was given a life sentence this week.

Judge Martyn Levett described the crimes as “painfully sadistic”, which had led the family of the victims completely broken. They had previously said that their lives “could never be replaced”.

Tevin Christy – the crook disguised as a delivery driver

Tevin Christy was part of a group to attack a 71-year-old man and his son in an aggravated burglary before going on a rampage on Essex roads
Tevin Christy was part of a group to attack a 71-year-old man and his son in an aggravated burglary before going on a rampage on Essex roads
(Image: Cambs Police)

Tevin Christy, 26, was one of five men who tried to get into Witcham Farm Cottage, in Purls Bridge Drove, Manea, Cambridgeshire on the afternoon of March 20, 2021. The 71-year-old homeowner and his 49-year-old son were fixing cars in the garden of the country house when a white Ford Transit pulled up.

Some of the group wore high-vis vests and were carrying small parcels to look like delivery men. Two ran into the house and began searching the property, while others demanded “where is the other car?” and started searching the sheds and outbuildings.

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The 71-year-old homeowner was knocked to the ground and had ammonia sprayed in towards his face, although he managed to protect himself from severe damage. Just over an hour after the raid, Christy was caught in Essex. Police were carrying out speed checks in the Dunmow West Interchange area.

After being clocked at 87mph, officers caught up with the van and signalled for it to exit the dual carriageway, but it didn’t stop. Instead, the lone male driver – Christy – led officers on a dangerous 35-minute pursuit from Great Dunmow to Chelmsford. Christy rammed the police car, causing injuries to two officers and damage to the car, but came to a stop when all four tyres were punctured by a stinger. He has now been jailed for a total of ten years for both crimes.

Connor Webb – the man who stabbed two people in a nightclub

Police were called to Brentwood high street to respond to a stabbing

Connor Webb, initially charged with wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm, admitted two lesser charges of unlawful wounding on day three of his trial. Webb, 25, of Pedro Street, London, attacked the two men during an enormous brawl inside the smoking area of Bloc40 nightclub in Brentwood High Street last year.

On May 29, the argument started between a group of men, of which Webb was not initially involved, which led to a huge brawl between a lot of people. During this fight, Webb confronted another man, drew a flick knife from his waistband and stabbed the victim in the thigh. A second man who rushed to the smoking area to get his brother away from the fracas also ended up getting stabbed in the buttock region.

Webb, who fled the scene in a Range Rover before later being arrested by police, was initially charged with possession of a knife and two counts of wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm. His trial began at Basildon Crown Court on Monday (March 14), but after two days he admitted unlawful wounding and the trial was called off. He now faces a potentially long spell behind bars.

Jimmy Stevens – the games console thief

Jimmy Stevens, 42, of Theydon Crescent, Basildon, admitted burglary and four counts of fraud when appearing at Basildon Crown Court this week. The charges all relate to the break-in at a home in Gordon Road, Basildon on February 11, 2021.

The family who lived in the home had been asleep at the time, when the father was awoken and went downstairs to find various items missing, including their Audi A5 car. Other items that were stolen included a Playstation 4, Apple Airpod earphones, a wallet and bank cards.

Stevens was later found and arrested. Richard Moss, mitigating at Basildon Crown Court, said Stevens had struggled to obtain his prescription medication and had resorted to “illegal means”, which led him down a “spiral” resulting in his offending on the day. Judge Shane Collery ended up jailing Stevens for 34 months in total, saying that at the age of 42 it was “not the way to live his life”.

Jack Whiten-Simpson – a drug dealer who waited more than three years for jail time

Jack Whiten-Simpson has been jailed
Jack Whiten-Simpson has been jailed
(Image: Essex Police)

Jack Whiten-Simpson was stopped in Southchurch Road, Southend-on-Sea, in a car on New Year’s Day 2019 with his girlfriend at the time Abigail Hakken driving. Inside the car, police found a bag on the back seat which contained a birthday card along with 35 wraps of cocaine and £700 in cash.

Burner phones found in the vehicle also contained messages which significantly linked a male to the sale of the drug, with limited references to a female being involved from December 29, 2018. Whiten-Simpson, 21, of Chestnut Grove, Southend, and Hakken, 22, of Cleves Road, Haverhill, were sentenced at Basildon Crown Court on Thursday (March 10) for being concerned in the supply of Class A drugs having being convicted after a trial.

Judge Shane Collery said: “Class A drug trafficking, let’s face it, are a plague on south Essex due to the grief, violence and fear they bring.” Addressing Whiten-Simpson, he said: “You had a significant role in your own drug enterprise. This was not a one-off occasion.”

Despite the length of time between offence and sentencing, Judge Collery still jailed Whiten-Simpson for 34 months. His former girlfriend Hakken received a suspended prison sentence of 24 months.

Essex Live – Colchester