A life sentence has been imposed on a murderer who killed a homeless man in a Canterbury car park following a trial at Canterbury Crown Court in November 2023.  Sobantu Sibanda was found guilty of the murder of 51-year-old Guy Malbec, who had been staying in a car park in Castle Street.

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Jailed (from left): Sobantu Sibanda and Keith Hall

Three men who helped cover up after the attack have also been jailed for a combined total of eight years and eight months.

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Sentenced (from left) Gavin Houghton and Airidas Sakalauskas.

During the afternoon of Monday 10 April 2023, Kent Police was called to the car park after it was reported that a man had been fatally assaulted.

The body of Mr Malbec was found inside a sleeping bag in a tent on the car park’s lower ground floor and a post-mortem examination confirmed he had died from blunt force trauma injuries to his head, face and torso.

An investigation was launched by the Kent and Essex Serious Crime Directorate and established that Mr Malbec had been fatally attacked in the early hours of Sunday 9 April.

CCTV footage captured a series of assaults carried out intermittently over a period of more than an hour by a man who was later identified as Sibanda.

In his evidence during the trial, Sibanda said that he had mistakenly believed Mr Malbec had stolen drugs from his tent.

Sibanda had become violent and used the victim’s own possessions, including a laptop and a wooden gavel, to beat him in an assault which lasted from around 4.40am until 5.35am on Sunday 9 April. He and three other men, Keith Hall, Gavin Houghton and Airidas Sakalauskas, were witnessed at the scene during the attack, searching through the victim’s property.

Personal items belonging to Mr Malbec were destroyed and other items were taken, including items of sentimental value such as a number of pink sapphires and a silver pill box. Mr Malbec’s phone was also taken, meaning he could not call 999.

Assisted by Houghton and Sakalauskas, Sibanda returned to the scene during the day, removing the victim’s tent, bloodstained items and clearing the area. Mr Malbec’s body was then left in Sibanda’s tent until he was found by police. Hall then deleted messages shared with the others about the incident and clear up.

Sibanda, 28, of no fixed address, was tracked down by police and arrested on 10 April.

Houghton, 50, and Sakalauskas, 22, both of Old Dover Road, Canterbury, were arrested the following day and Hall, 51, of Athelstan Road, Canterbury, became the fourth man to be arrested, on 13 April.

In court, all four men admitted perverting the course of justice through their actions following the assault.

Sibanda, having pleaded to manslaughter, was found guilty by the jury of murder on Friday 17 November, and he was sentenced to serve a minimum 19 years at Canterbury Crown Court on Thursday 18 January 2024. For their part in perverting the course of justice, Houghton and Sakalauskas were each sentenced to three years and four months, and Hall received a two-year custodial sentence.

Senior investigating officer Detective Chief Inspector Kathleen Way from the Kent and Essex Serious Crime Directorate said:

‘This was a brutal, prolonged attack on Mr Malbec, who had previously had such a promising life ahead of him, but whose poor health had led to him living on the streets in Canterbury.

‘He was vulnerable and had no way to defend himself when he was subjected to such a vicious attack.

‘Sibanda left him to die and disposed of his property, giving no thought to his victim until he was later arrested. He acted callously and without remorse.

‘Today marks a closure to the investigation of how a man’s life was cut tragically short. These four men have now been sentenced for their roles in this heinous incident.

‘Mr Malbec’s killer has been locked up and cannot pose a risk to anyone else. I would like to thank Mr. Malbec’s family for their assistance during the investigation.’

By Ed

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