A lifer who cut off both his ears while awaiting trial is now battling to overturn his conviction for the murder of a sex offender he battered to death behind bars.
Lee Robert Foye, 27, was jailed for life at Luton Crown Court in November 2011 after he was convicted of murdering 44-year-old Robert Coello, who was beaten to death at HMP Grendon, Buckinghamshire, London’s Appeal Court heard.
Foye stamped on Coello so hard that the tread of his shoes could be seen on the dead man’s body. He was already serving life for murdering Lauren Strachan, in front of her toddler son when he attacked Coello.
Ms Strachan, aged 19 and from Corby, was stabbed 47 times in the August 2005 attack, but her body was only discovered the following day when neighbours were alerted by the cries of her two-year-old son.
Coello, of Whitley, Reading, was said to have been attacked after giving fellow inmates graphic details about his sordid crimes.
Foye was alleged by prosecutors to have targeted Coello due to a murderous hatred for sex offenders. However, at his trial, his lawyers argued he was too mentally unwell to be held fully accountable for his actions.
He ended up boycoting his trial for Coello’s murder, and sliced off both his ears in HMP Woodhill in MIlton Keynes.
His defence team put forward a defence of diminished responsibility which was rejected by the jury, who found him guilty. Foye was given a minimum 16-year “tariff” alongside his life-term.
However, his case reached the Appeal Court on Wednesday, February 13, as his QC, Jeremy Benson, challenged his murder conviction with claims that the trial judge’s summing-up was flawed.
Foye’s lawyers are asking the Appeal Court judges to substitute a manslaughter verdict, which could also lead to a substantially lighter sentence.
Mr Benson argued the trial judge failed to properly summarise to the jury psychiatric evidence which depicted Foye as a man who was “desperate for help” and haunted by intrusive thoughts.
At the end of a day-long hearing, Lord Justice Hughes, sitting with Mrs Justice Gloster and Mr Justice Hickinbottom, reserved the court’s decision on the appeal.