Jailed: On-off boyfriend murdered Finsbury Park mum
- Credit: Surrey Police
The on-off partner of a Finsbury Park mother, whose body was found on a slip road in Surrey last summer, has been jailed for murdering her.
Dane Messam, 52, of Henry Road in Finsbury Park, was given a life sentence - with a minimum term of 23 years - at Guildford Crown Court today (April 26).
He was found guilty in March of murdering Helen Anderson following a five-week trial at the same court.
The acid-soaked body of Helen was discovered wrapped in a duvet and plastic sheet by a member of the public, near the A3 in Guildford on August 23, 2021.
Messam and the 41-year-old mother-of-four had been in an on-off relationship for five years and lived together in Finsbury Park.
Police officers discovered the couple had booked flights to Jamaica on August 25, and Messam had called to cancel Helen’s ticket on the same day her body was found.
Messam and Helen regularly travelled on a red and white decommissioned double-decker bus and travelled to Brighton in it at the end of July 2021.
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Police enquiries revealed Messam's bus had broken down in London on August 24, and pictures taken by the breakdown recovery agent showed brushes and water buckets on board - suggesting it had been recently cleaned.
Police tracked Messam down as he was driving the bus out of London on August 25.
Detectives believe he was driving it to a storage location before boarding his flight to Jamaica to attend his mother's funeral - but first he drove to Guildford and went past the location where he had disposed of Helen’s body.
He then drove to Oxfordshire, stopping at a petrol station just outside Bicester where officers arrested him on suspicion of murder.
Another man, who was travelling with Messam on the bus, was also arrested on suspicion of murder but later released without further action.
A third man was also arrested in connection with the investigation, after Messam tried to blame him for Helen’s murder.
He was also released with no further action.
While in police custody Messam told officers: "I’m going to prison for this and I don’t ******* care. I do care but there’s only so much somebody can take."
DCI Emma Vickers, from Surrey and Sussex Major Crime Team said: “This was a tragic case where a woman lost her life at the hands of a man she loved who abused her trust.
“Even with all the evidence against him, Messam continued to deny having any involvement in Helen’s death causing further pain to those who knew and loved her by putting them through the agony of a trial.
“He has acted entirely in self-interest. After killing Helen, we believe he left her body in Surrey, a place which she had no connection to in the hope that his hideous crime would go undetected long enough for him to escape the country.
“I am extremely proud of the officers involved for their work in ensuring Messam is now behind bars where he belongs."
DCI Emma Vickers said securing the conviction had required a large-scale investigation by Surrey and Sussex Police with assistance from the Metropolitan Police Service.
She continued: “Our thoughts remain with Helen’s family who have demonstrated immense bravery throughout the investigation and the subsequent trial, despite having to hear distressing details about their loved one.
"I hope they take some comfort from today’s outcome.”
Information about support services available to victims of domestic abuse can be found here.