Dane Messam has been sentenced to a minimum of 23 years in prison after being found guilty of murdering his on-off partner Helen Anderson.
Helen Anderson was just 41 when her body was discovered in a small wooded area near the A3 in Guildford on Monday, 23 August 2021.
Messam, 52, of Henry Road, Finsbury Park was sentenced today after a five-week trial at Guildford Crown Court.
On 23 August, Surrey Police received a call shortly after 3pm from a member of the public who found Helen’s body just off the slip-road from the A320 roundabout leading up the A3. She had been wrapped in a duvet and a plastic sheet.
A murder investigation was quickly launched by Surrey and Sussex’s Major Crime Team and within hours, Dane Messam was identified as a key suspect.
Messam and Helen had been in an on-off relationship for five years and lived together in Finsbury Park, North London.
The couple regularly travelled on a red and white decommissioned double decker bus and had taken a trip down to Brighton on it towards the end of July 2021.
Investigating Officers were making fast-time efforts to locate Messam when enquiries revealed that he and Helen had had flights booked for the 25 August to fly to Jamaica. It was then discovered Messam had called to cancel Helen’s ticket on the same day her body was found.
Further enquiries also revealed that his red and white bus had broken down in London on Tuesday, 24 August. Pictures taken by the breakdown recovery agent showed brushes and water buckets on board suggesting it had been recently cleaned.
On Wednesday, 25 August, Messam was located by police driving the bus out of London. Detectives believe Messam was driving his bus to a storage location before boarding his flight to Jamaica later that day however, he first drove to Guildford and went past the location where he had disposed of Helen’s body.
He then drove up to Oxfordshire, where he finally came to a stop at a petrol station just outside Bicester. At this point, officers took their opportunity to arrest him on suspicion of murder. Another man, who was travelling with Messam on the bus was also arrested on suspicion of murder but later released without further action.
Whilst in police custody, Messam told officers I’m going to prison for this and I don’t ******* care. I do care but there’s only so much somebody can take’
With Messam in custody, the family of Helen Anderson, who was a mother of four children from previous relationships, described her as a “dear sister and daughter” with a “big heart”.
Messam was charged with murder on Saturday, 29 August. A third man was also arrested in connection with the investigation after Messam tried to blame him for Helen’s murder, but he was later released without further action.
Following his arrest, officers continued to keep momentum behind the investigation, appealing to any members of the public who may have seen the bus across London and Surrey around the time of Helen’s death.
Detective Chief Inspector Emma Vickers, from Surrey and Sussex Major Crime Team said: “This was a tragic case where a woman lost her life at the hands of a man she loved who abused her trust.
“Even with all the evidence against him, Messam continued to deny having any involvement in Helen’s death causing further pain to those who knew and loved her by putting them through the agony of a trial.
“He has acted entirely in self-interest. After killing Helen, we believe he left her body in Surrey, a place which she had no connection to in the hope that his hideous crime would go undetected long enough for him to escape the country.
“I am extremely proud of the officers involved for their work in ensuring Messam is now behind bars where he belongs. This was a large-scale investigation by Surrey and Sussex Police with assistance from our colleagues in the Metropolitan Police Service to secure evidence from Messam’s house in Finsbury Park.
“Our thoughts remain with Helen’s family who have demonstrated immense bravery throughout the investigation and the subsequent trial, despite having to hear distressing details about their loved one. I hope they take some comfort from today’s outcome.”