Sex offender gets life for NEC guard murder

A convicted sex offender has been jailed for life after being found guilty of the rape and murder of an NEC security guard he abducted from a pub.

Martin Christopher Stafford

A convicted sex offender has been jailed for life after being found guilty of the rape and murder of an NEC security guard he abducted from a pub.

Martin Stafford, 44, was sentenced to a minimum of 33 years yesterday after he was convicted of killing mother-of-two Michelle Gunshon.

The 38-year-old’s body has never been found since she disappeared from a pub where she was staying in December 2004 while working as a security guard for The Clothes Show Live at the NEC in Birmingham.

Stafford was employed as a glass collector in the Dubliner pub in the Digbeth area of the city when he met Mrs Gunshon. The court heard he then murdered her before “spiriting her body away” and fleeing the country.

Hours after the killing, Stafford was caught on a speed camera driving Mrs Gunshon’s Ford Escort around Birmingham  with “something in the car” strapped in the passenger seat.

Mrs Gunshon, from Mill Hill, north London, last made contact with her long-term partner and daughter on the evening of December 4 but it was discovered she had gone missing the next morning. When her car was later recovered, police found Mrs Gunshon’s blood inside and genetic material from the defendant.

The court was told that after the murder Stafford changed his identity and fled to Ireland.

Yesterday, following a 13-day trial, a jury at Birmingham Crown Court found Stafford guilty of murder – as well as false imprisonment, rape and preventing the burial of a body.

Detective Inspector Simon Astle of West Midlands Police welcomed the sentence.

He added: “We will not give up in our efforts to trace Michelle’s body.”