A MAN has been found guilty of brutally murdering mum of five Pennie Davis having been hired as part of an evil plot by her former stepson.

A jury took 13 hours to find Justin Robertson guilty of stabbing the 47-year-old to death as she tended her horses, having conspired with Ben Carr, the son of her former partner who wanted her silenced.

Samantha Maclean, 28, was cleared of any involvement with the conspiracy.

Gasps could be heard from the public gallery in Winchester Crown Court, as the verdicts were read out, following a trial which has spanned seven weeks.

Robertson, 36, stabbed the supermarket worker at least ten times with a knife in a “frenzied attack” that left her mortally wounded with no chance of survival.

Bournemouth Echo:

L-r - Justin Robertson and Ben Carr

He had been recruited by Carr, 22, of Edward Road, Shirley, who wanted her silenced after she threatened to resurrect historical claims that he had indecently assaulted girls.

Fearful that those allegations would threaten his new job working with troubled teenagers and ruin the upcoming wedding of his dad, Carr's hatred for Pennie saw him desperate to put a stop to her and wanted her dead.

But he needed somebody to plunge the knife for him, and in Robertson, who he had known for several months through dealing class A drugs, Carr had his man.

A "petty crook" fuelled by greed, with a reputation of someone not to be messed with and somebody who he trusted, Robertson fitted the profile he needed.

He offered Robertson £1,500 to do the deed and knowing Robertson’s hatred for paedophiles, Carr lied about Pennie sexually assaulting him as a child to ensure his hired help had the justification he needed to carry out the plan.

Over a period of just two weeks, the pair meticulously planned the murder, with regular meetings and phone contact, as well as carrying out surveillance trips, with Robertson following Pennie on at least two occasions to work out her routine and to discover the best place to carry out the killing.

But that cruel plot quickly began to unravel when Robertson dropped the key to Maclean's car he used to get to Leygreen Farm, during the attack and left it beside Pennie’s body.

It was this vital piece of evidence that soon led police to those involved in the murder.

Carr claimed he had only recruited Robertson to scare her, but the jury dismissed his lies and found him guilty of conspiring to kill the supermarket worker.

Robertson remained at large for several days until he finally handed himself in, claiming he was “just a petty crook” and that murder was beyond him.

Robertson denied being involved in any plan and insisted he was in Beaulieu on the day of the murder, September 2, 2014, to scope out houses to burgle, but again, jurors rejected those lies.

Bournemouth Echo:

The scene of the murder last September

Maclean maintained throughout the trial that she had no knowledge of any plan, that she simply let Robertson borrow her car and phone and the jury believed that she like many of the prosecution witnesses, had helped him out but knew nothing of what he was doing.

Now Robertson and Carr face prison for their roles in the horrific killing of much-loved Pennie, who had simply gone to the field that day to tend to her horses.

Lian Doyle, 24, of Beech Crescent, Hythe, will be sentenced tomorrow, having already pleaded guilty to perverting the course of justice earlier this year, for disposing of Robertson’s trainers.