Sandra Samuels murder: Homeless killer launched fatal attack on his ‘friend’ who offered him shelter in her Hackney flat

Gavin Shane Carl Lewis. Picture: Met Police

Gavin Shane Carl Lewis. Picture: Met Police - Credit: Met Police

A homeless man who launched a ferocious attack on his “friend” who had offered him shelter in her own home, has pleaded guilty to her murder.

Gavin Shane Carl Lewis entered Sandra Samuels’ flat in Herrick House on the Milton Gardens Estate in Stoke Newington just before 5pm on August 29.

Within just 19 minutes he fatally wounded 44-year-old Sandra by inflicting multiple injuries, hid her body underneath items from around the flat, and left.

A post-mortem examination gave the cause of her death as blunt force trauma to the head and torso.

When Lewis arrived at Sandra’s flat he was wearing a black vest, but when he left he was bare chested and carrying a black hold-all.

He locked the back gate using Sandra’s keys, and went to Gillett Square in Dalston, where he was captured on CCTV taking things out of the bag before throwing it away.

Sandra’s friends, who also knew Lewis, saw him there and told detectives how he appeared to be in a good mood.

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Two days later a concerned family member raised the alarm because they hadn’t seen Sandra for several days.

Police had to break in to the flat, and Sandra was sadly pronounced dead by paramedics at 4pm on August 31.

A CCTV camera on the landing outside captured vital evidence which showed that just one person - Lewis - had visited Sandra’s flat in the hours before her death.

Lewis was arrested at an address off Stamford Hill Broadway on September 3 2019, and during his interview with police he denied killing her, claiming that when he left her flat she was alive and well.

He was due to stand trial at the Old Bailey, but he pleaded guilty to murder yesterday.

He will be sentenced on Tuesday.

Det Insp Darren Jones, from the Met’s murder squad said: “Sandra was described as a kind and friendly woman by everyone who knew her.

“She had a group of friends who cared deeply for her.

“It is a tragedy that Sandra’s life was cut short by the cruel actions of Gavin Shane Carl Lewis.

“Sandra opened her home to Lewis and gave him a place to stay when he needed it.

“They were friends.

“Lewis repaid Sandra’s kindness and friendship by attacking her in her own home.

“Following his arrest he attempted to divert the investigation toward Sandra’s ex-partner, but the CCTV evidence is damning.

“Lewis killed Sandra and attempted to conceal his crime by covering her body with items from the flat and locking the gate to prevent anyone else getting inside.

“I want to extend my condolences to her family and friends, I hope that today’s conviction can bring some comfort.

“Finally, I would like to commend the officers who spend hours meticulously watching the hundreds of hours of CCTV footage that was crucial in this case.

“By identifying the key pieces of footage Lewis was convicted of murdering Sandra Samuels.”