A man who brutally murdered a vulnerable young woman and set fire to her body has been sentenced to life in prison to serve a minimum of 21 years after admitting his guilt.
Craig Procter, 40, from Ellesmere Port appeared at Liverpool Crown Court on Monday (October 16) to face a six-week trial, but dramatically changed his plea to guilty at the eleventh hour.
He was sentenced for the murder of Ellia Arathoon, 29, from Ellesmere Port today (October 17).
Ellia, mum to young son Reece, was sofa surfing at the time of her death and had stayed at Procter’s home periodically. She was last seen at a party with Procter on October 28 last year by friends. The pair left in the early hours of the following morning and made their way to the defendant’s house. This was the last time she was seen alive, her remains being found five days later in a wooded area by the M53 following an extensive search by police.
The search was sparked after Procter told a family member and his ex-partner that he had killed Ellia and they alerted police. Procter was arrested and, as the investigation progressed, further damning information came in from the community.
DS Steve Currie said: “We know Procter attacked Ellia with a heavy glass causing her to fall unconscious. Evidence indicates sexual contact, which the defendant eventually admitted. The prosecution maintain that the sexual contact was non-consensual. We also know that he then put her body in a suitcase and wheeled it through the streets to a makeshift grave, setting the suitcase on fire with her inside – but tragically we may never know why Procter meted out such acts on such a vulnerable young woman.
“Procter originally tried to hide his guilt by covering his tracks and blaming others, but thanks to our dedicated team of specialists and experts at Cheshire Police and at the CPS, we were able to get to the truth and get justice for Ellia’s family.
“I’d like to take this opportunity to highlight that the Ellesmere Port community also had a huge part to play in helping us close the net on Procter. The public were invaluable in helping us progress our investigation to a successful conclusion and I’d like to thank you wholeheartedly for your help and assistance. I hope you will continue giving us your help and support so that we can continue to put such vile individuals behind bars.”