Killer wrapped wardrobe in clingfilm when teenager’s body started rotting
A former offender murdered a 17-year-old girl during a violent sex attack then hid her body in a clingfilm-wrapped wardrobe.
Megan Bills was killed by Ashley Foster just hours after meeting him.
He strangled her using his shirt then left her body to rot for more than two weeks while he searched the internet for ‘snuff movies’ and necrophilia-related images.
Foster, 24, had only been released from prison three days before he murdered church-going Megan.
Her body was found badly decomposed at a hostel for former inmates in Brierley Hill, West Midlands, on May 3 last year.
Jobless Foster had claimed the pair had consensual sex before Megan died accidentally during a sex game gone wrong.
But jurors heard how the defendant had been carrying out his own perverted sexual desires when he strangled Megan in his hostel bedroom.
After six hours of deliberation, the six men and six women of the jury at Wolverhampton Crown Court unanimously found Foster guilty of Megan’s murder.
Foster, who showed no reaction as the verdict was delivered, was told to expect life in prison when he is sentenced either this afternoon or tomorrow morning.
Dawn and Martin Bills, who adopted Megan at the age of seven, wept in the public gallery with their head in their hands as the verdict was read out.
Megan was found by volunteers at the New Path of Life hostel in Highgate Road, who were forced to break in to Foster’s room to inspect what was causing a horrific smell, 18 days after her death.
They found the wardrobe with a duvet thrown over it and underneath the doors had been bound shut by clingfilm.
When the plastic was ripped away, a human leg fell out – but it had rotted so much staff thought it was a dead animal.
Megan’s body – which was wrapped in a curtain inside the wardrobe – was identified through dental records and was so badly decomposed that a post-mortem examination failed to establish how she died.
At the start of the seven-day trial, prosecutor Crispin Aylett QC said Foster enjoyed a roast dinner in the aftermath of the murder and smirked at a relative when asked why he needed to buy clingfilm.
Examination of the killer’s mobile phones showed he had made numerous searches relating to strangulation and schoolgirls in the days after Megan’s death on Easter Sunday last year.
Mr Aylett told the court: ‘That Megan’s violent death must be related to some perverted sexual activity on the part of this defendant, which involves either actual death or the simulation of death, is borne out by the internet searches that the defendant made in the days following Megan’s death.
‘The defendant repeatedly looked for snuff videos – being a type of film in which someone can actually be seen to be, or appear to be, murdered.’
During the trial, Mr Aylett said Foster had treated Megan with ‘complete and utter contempt’.
He added: ‘The defendant was carrying out his own sexual fantasies instead of hers.
‘He had intended to kill Megan or cause her serious bodily harm. He was acting out his own snuff movie fantasy.’
CCTV caught Foster trying to cover his tracks in the days following the murder, by cleaning his room, vacuuming flies and spraying bed sheets with cleaning fluid.
Further CCTV showed Megan’s final moments as she laughed and joked with her killer in a supermarket just hours before she was killed.
Jurors were shown footage of the pair’s movements around the hostel, including Megan’s last sighting as she entered Foster’s room.
The court also heard how Foster wrote a letter to his mum in which he claimed Megan’s death was an accident.
He wrote: ‘She tells me she likes to be strangled so I obliged. She loved it, but then as I released her, her eyes closed.
‘I thought she would be gone, I panicked I put her in the wardrobe, I panicked, oh f**k, I put her in the wardrobe like they do in the movies.’
Detective Inspector Caroline Corfield, from West Midlands Police’s homicide unit, said after the case: ‘This is a terribly tragic death of a teenager with her whole life in front of her.
‘Despite Megan’s apparent independence she was a vulnerable young lady who would never have imagined the dangerous lair she was walking into when she entered Foster’s room.
‘Foster had an unnatural obsession with deviant sexual activity and he disposed of Megan’s young life to satisfy his own twisted desires.
‘For Megan’s family, hearing the details of this evidence must have been unbearable.
‘I am pleased the jury saw through his thin fabric of lies and found him guilty of murder and I can only hope this gives her family some sense of justice.’
In a statement released by police, Megan’s parents Dawn and Martin said: ‘2017 was meant to be such a special year for us as a family, not only celebrating 10 years since Megan’s adoption hearing but also Megan’s 18th birthday, which we had planned to celebrate with both family and friends.
‘This would also have seen us as a family taking her to swim with dolphins, something she had wanted to do for a while.
‘After a turbulent period, Megan had decided to, and was in the process of, returning home to live with the family.
‘To have lost Megan is hard enough, but to try and understand the impact, when coupled with the facts that her body was concealed until it had rotted beyond recognition, is clearly painful beyond words and demonstrates an evil cruelty beyond any decent comprehension.
‘The on-going trauma we are living with is due in part to being denied the closure obtained from being able to see and hold Megan after she had died.
‘The dynamics of our family have been broken – this vile and tragic event has robbed us of so much.
‘Mentally and physically we are all changed people. We will have to deal with the impact of Megan’s death forever and it will affect the rest of our lives.’
They described Megan as a ‘bright shining star’ with a ‘loud personality’ and a ‘big. beautiful smile which lit up a room’.
After his conviction for murder, the court was told Foster had served a short prison sentence for assault and witness intimidation following an incident in 2016 in which his sister was threatened with a knife, leaving her with a cut to her hand.
Foster is due to be sentenced later by Judge James Burbidge QC.