A builder who described himself as a “psychopath with a conscience” has been found guilty of murdering two escorts six months apart.
Mark Brown killed Leah Ware and Alexandra Morgan at a remote farm near St Leonards in East Sussex in May and November last year after meeting them through a sex work website, a jury at Hove Crown Court was told.
Brown put 34-year-old Ms Morgan head-first into a home-made incinerator before dumping her remains.
The body of 33-year-old Ms Ware has never been found, but the prosecution believe he used a similar method – as well as also killing her Pomeranian dog, Lady.
The jury of 10 men and two women took 10-and-a-half hours to convict Brown of both murder charges on Thursday.
Brown stared ahead with a blank expression as the verdict was read out amid gasps from the public gallery, made up of a number of Ms Ware’s family members.
Ms Ware’s family said in a statement that Brown “won’t allow her the dignity and respect of a proper burial or allow us to have the answers we so desperately need and deserve”.
Detective Chief Inspector Andy Wolstenholme, of Sussex Police, said the force will be speaking to Brown as soon as possible to try to persuade him to reveal what happened to Ms Ware’s remains.
Brown met Ms Ware in 2018 when he hired her as an escort and they developed an “on again, off again” relationship.
He killed her on or around May 7 last year after tensions grew when she pressed him to leave his partner of 14 years, Lisa Clark, the court heard.
In the six months between killing Ms Ware and Ms Morgan, Brown messaged a friend calling himself a “psychopath with a conscience”, saying: “I’m going to be very careful how I word this – it happened again, not very long ago when disposing of something.
“It’s a very unpleasant thing to do – an old oil drum, five litres of diesel, and hey presto, there’s not very much left.
“It gets hot, very hot, it glows almost white.
“The things I have done weigh heavily on my heart, on my head and my soul. A psychopath with a conscience – it’s a joke really.”
The jury found this message referred to Brown disposing of Ms Ware’s remains.
Brown hired Ms Morgan for sex around a dozen times before offering her an escorting job worth £100,000 in October 2021.
But when she visited Little Bridge Farm, the site he rented, the following month, he killed her and burned her body in an incinerator.
He then dumped her remains in a skip at the building site where he worked in Sevenoaks, Kent.
Brown claimed she died in an accident at the farm after hitting her head when she slipped in his workshop and he burned her body “in a panic”.
He told the jury he and Ms Ware broke up in early 2021 and, as far as he knows, she is still alive.
Judge Justice Nicholas Hilliard adjourned sentencing until January 13, saying the case is of the “utmost gravity” and thanking the jury for committing to the case for so long.
Libby Clark, from the Crown Prosecution Service, said: “This is a tragic case where two women were murdered and treated with utter disregard and cruelty at the hands of Mark Brown.
“Brown has never accepted his actions; he claimed Alex’s death was an accident and created a web of lies to cover up the truth about Leah’s murder.
“We are pleased the jury saw through his lies and convicted him today, closing this complex and challenging case.
“Our thoughts remain with the families of Alex Morgan and Leah Ware. We hope, now Brown has been convicted, he will finally tell us what happened to Leah’s body, so her family can have closure.”