Stephen Marshall murdered his so-called “best friend” in such horrifying circumstances, police called him The Jigsaw Killer – but who were his victims?
A new episode of Killer at the Crime Sceneexplores how the police and their specialist forensic teams caught the evil murderer.
So who was Stephen Marshall, and who were his victims?
And is he still alive?
Here’s everything you need to know about Stephen Marshall and the second episode of Killer at the Crime Scene.
***Warning: contains distressing details about Stephen Marshall’s crimes***
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Who was Stephen Marshall?
Stephen Marshall was a bodybuilder, personal trainer and former bouncer with links to London’s underworld.
Friends described him as a popular, lovable “bad guy”.
He lived a playboy lifestyle, spending thousands of pounds on prostitutes and taking large amounts of drugs.
In November 2008, Stephen Marshall moved in to the flat of his “drinking buddy” and friend Mr Jeffrey Howe in Southgate, London.
Stephen lived there with his girlfriend Sarah Bush, a prostitute, and the mother of two children.
Tragically, just four months later, Stephen murdered his so-called best friend and landlord Jeffrey with the help of Sarah.
In a sickening coincidence, there is an American serial killer with the same name.
American-Canadian murderer Stephen Marshall, was a vigilante who murdered two convicted sex offenders.
Who was Stephen Marshall’s victim?
Stephen Marshall and girlfriend Sarah Bush murdered Jeffrey Howe while he slept.
The crime took place sometime between March 8 and March 9, 2009.
The pair then gruesomely chopped up his body and tried to hide evidence of their disgusting act.
During his trial, Stephen admitted to dismembering four more males between 1995 and 1998.
The murders occurred when he was working as a doorman for a London nightclub run by gangster family the Adams in the 1990s.
Stephen disposed of the bodies in Epping Forest.
Police reopened a number of cold cases involving missing people and body parts found over the past 15 years.
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Who was Stephen Marshall victim Jeffrey Howe and why was he killed?
Jeffrey Howewas a kitchen salesman murdered by Stephen Marshall.
He was 49 at the time of his death.
His brother described him as “a jovial, charming character who had a heart of gold and would get on with anyone”.
Jeffrey Howe owned a flat in Southgate, London, and allowed Stephen Marshall to stay in it from November 2008.
However, Stephen began stealing Jeffrey’s food and refused to leave.
Stephen and sex worker Sarah Bush fraudulently claimed housing benefitby forging his signature, saying he was leasing the property to them.
On March 8 2009, Stephen Marshall murdered Jeffrey Howe for his money.
After the murder, Stephen and Sarah stole money from Jeffrey Howe’s bank account.
They bought a laptop, shoes, takeaways, and food.
Stephen and Sarah set up an account with online retailer Littlewoods.
They made some of the purchases on a computer in St. Albanslibrary.
The duo also wrote forged cheques to clear his account.
The killers also sold some of Jeffrey’s belongings, including his mobile phone, furniture, and his Saab car, which they sold on eBay.
Stephen and Sarah told Jeffrey’s friend Shehrya Khan that he had “packed up and left”.
How did Stephen murder Jeffrey Howe?
Stephen Marshall murdered Jeffrey Howe on the night of March 08 2009.
The killer stabbed Jeffrey twice in the back with a four-inch blade.
One of the wounds punctured his lung.
Jeffrey Howe died up to an hour later.
Stephen Marshall then removed Jeffrey Howe’s limbs.
Home Office pathologist Simon Poole estimated that would have taken at least 12 hours.
Stephen removed the limbs “skillfully and cleanly”, according to the expert.
Stephen Marshall scattered Jeffrey’s dismembered body parts across HertfordshireandLeicestershire.
Why was murderer called The Jigsaw Man?
Police called Stephen Marshall The Jigsaw Man because of the way he disposed of the body.
After murdering Jeffrey Howe, Stephen dismembered his body.
He scattered Jeffrey’s body parts across Hertfordshire and Leicestershire to avoid suspicion.
Where was Stephen Marshall victim Jeffrey Howe’s body discovered?
OnMarch 22 2009, a member of the public discovered a left leg with the foot attached in a lay-by on the A507 in Cottered,Hertfordshire.
They found the body part in a green holdall.
The police immediately launched a murder investigation.
On March 29 2009, a left forearm, dismembered at the elbow and wrist, was found on a grass verge along Drovers Lane, Wheathampstead.
Two days later, on March 31, a farmer found a head in a cattle pen in a field in Asfordby,Leicestershire.
The flesh had been removed and the eyes, ears, tongue and neck had been cut off.
On April 07 2022, a driver found a right leg in a holdall near the A10 Puckeridge bypass in Hertfordshire.
Just later, on April 11, a walker discovered a torso, right arm and upper left arm in a ditch near Standon, Hertfordshire inside a green suitcase.
The suitcase was the same brand as the holdall.
Jeffrey’s hands have never been found, although Sarah Bush said they were buried in Epping Forest.
Who was Stephen’s girlfriend Sarah Bush and where is she now?
Marshall lived there with his girlfriend and accomplice, a prostitute called Sarah Bush, who was 21 at the time of the murder trial.
Sarah Bush met Stephen Marshall when he hired her as a prostitute.
He made her change her name from Sara.
She spent most of her childhood in care, and had two children.
Tragically, her first baby – which she had when she had just turned 15 – died after just 10 days.
After she was arrested, Stephen Marshall blamed her for the crime.
Sarah Bush served her time for her involvement in Jeffrey Howe’s death.
The judge sentenced her to three years and nine months for perverting the course of justice.
She served 45 months in prison.
How did he get caught?
Detective Superintendent Michael Hanlon from the Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire Major Crime Unit led the investigation.
The investigation was called Operation Abnet and involved up to 100 officers.
They released a picture of the suitcase in which the torso was found, but decided to keep details of the dismemberment from the public to avoid panic.
Jeffrey Howe’s friend reported his missing in March 2009 after visiting his flat.
The friend found Stephen Marshall and Sarah Bush living there.
Two police officers went to the flat on the morning of March 16 2009 and forced entry when there was no answer.
They found Jeffrey Howe’s passport on the coffee table.
Police questioned Stephen Marshall and Sarah Bush who said that, as far as they knew, Jeffrey was alive.
The police eventually used dental records to identify Jeffrey Howe from his remains.
They discovered that Stephen Marshall had lived close to where the torso was found.
Police arrested the couple at the flat in Southgate on April 21 2009.
What was the evidence against Stephen Marshall?
The arresting officer described Stephen Marshall as “very, very nervous, jittery, his leg was shaking”.
He added: “Sarah Bush was uncomfortable. At that point I knew that Jeffrey Howe was going to be our victim.”
Police searching Jeffrey Howe’s flat found blood in the bedroom, bathroom, and under the carpet.
Blood was also found in Jeffery Howe’s car after it was recovered.
Green fibres from a T-shirt in Marshall’s bedroom matched fibres on duct tape used to wrap Howe’s body parts.
Later, Stephen Marshall and Sarah Bush’s car journey from dumping the body in Leicestershire was traced by CCTVandAutomatic number plate recognition.
What happened at Stephen Marshall’s trial?
Stephen Marshall’s trial began on January 12 2010, and was held atSt Albans Crown Court.
The killer initially denied murdering Jeffrey Howe.
Instead, he claimed that Sarah Bush had committed the crime and that he had only helped to dismember and dispose of the body.
He admitted to perverting the course of justiceand intending to prevent acoronerfrom holding aninquest.
Meanwhile, Sarah Bush admitted she was a drug addict and denied all charges.
The court heard that Stephen Marshall previously threatened to “get rid of” Sarah Bush’s previous partner in Epping Forest, and to “dispose of” another woman.
He had boasted of having “considerable experience of disposing of bodies”.
A witness said that when working for the Adams crime family, Stephen Marshall had used a meat cleaver, meat knives, a hacksaw, or a chainsaw to cut up bodies.
On January 29 2010, three weeks into the trial, Stephen Marshall changed his plea to guilty of murder.
What did Stephen Marshall get sentenced with?
Stephen Marshall initially pleaded “not guilty” to murder, but changed his plea to “guilty”.
A judge found Stephen Marshall, 38 at the time, guilty of killing and dismembering victim Jeffrey Howe.
In February 2010, he was sentenced to life imprisonment, or a minimum of 36 years.
During what was known as the “jigsaw man” murder trial, the jury heard how Stephen Marshall killed many others, too.
He admitted to butchering the bodies of four other men while working as a doorman for a London nightclub run by gangsters in the 1990s.
Sarah Bush also changed her plea to guilty on February 02 2010.
The judge sentenced her to three years and nine months for perverting the course of justice.
Where is Stephen Marshall now? How did he die?
Stephen Marshall remains in jail.
He is not eligible for parole until 2046.
The court refused Marshall’s appeal in October 2010.
Killer at the Scene on Channel 5
Documentary looking at how light source technology and fibre analysis led to the conviction of murderer Stephen Marshall.
He dismembered his victim, and scattered the body across the UK.
Killer at the Crime Scene continues on Wednesdays at 10pm on Channel 5. All episodes are available to watch on My5.
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