Sussex man convicted of killing homeless woman who was found in a seafront shelter

Wayne Marshall arriving at Lewes Crown Court for his trial
Wayne Marshall arriving at Lewes Crown Court for his trial

A Sussex man has been convicted of killing a homeless woman whose body was found in a seafront shelter.

Tracy Patsalides was found dead in Eastbourne at 2.55am on June 12 this year. She was 40 years old.

Tracy Patsalides (inset) was found dead at the seafront shelter she was living in

Tracy Patsalides (inset) was found dead at the seafront shelter she was living in

Marshall, 38, of no fixed address was cleared of murdering her and robbing his friend after a 12-day trial.

However the jury found him guilty of manslaughter.

He will be sentenced on Friday.

What happened to Tracy?

The lack of public interest in a murder trial is a sad reflection on the plight of scores of homeless people

Detective Chief Inspector Colin Pirie

In the early hours of Tuesday, June 12 police officers’ attention was drawn to a seafront shelter close to King Edward Parade where they found her body.

Police enquiries established that Marshall had violently attacked another rough sleeper during the course of the evening and his protracted aggressive behaviour was observed by a number of witnesses, police said.

Extensive forensic examinations at the scene linked him to the death of Tracy.

‘Sad reflection’ on the plight of the homeless

Tributes were left at the seafront shelter where Tracy's body was found

Tributes were left at the seafront shelter where Tracy's body was found

Detective Chief Inspector Colin Pirie said: “The lack of public interest in a murder trial is a sad reflection on the plight of scores of homeless people whose lives go on often largely unseen by many who are in a much more fortunate position.

“I regret that until this investigation, I was probably was one of those people, albeit that my work as a police officer brought me into contact with homeless people more than most.

“I would like to thank the witnesses in this case for their courage in giving evidence and expressing themselves so personably and articulately in the witness box, enabling the jury to see Wayne Marshall for what he really is – a violent man who has deprived those who knew Tracy of a mother, daughter, sister and friend.

“Tracy and her family and friends deserve this verdict and I sincerely hope that its repercussions, besides bringing justice and hopefully, some closure to them, may in some small way focus attention on the extent of the issues facing the homeless community and the charities who support them.”

Emotional tribute to ‘happy and smiling’ Tracy

Speaking shortly after her death, Tracy’s family said: “Our lovely daughter Tracy was taken from us in the most cruel way. We feel devastated and numb.

“When Tracy was a child she was always happy and smiling. She would readily share her toys, food, love and possessions with her friends. She had a generous and loving nature that was sometimes taken advantage of. She thought of everyone as a friend.

“Tracy liked to travel and made many friends up and down the country throughout the years. Thank you to all those good people who were her friends along the way.

“Our thanks and appreciation also go to all the police who have been involved with this case and been of great support to us.”