Gay escort, Michael Brennan, found guilty of murder of Bushey man Paul Simons

Watford Observer: Michael Brennan. Michael Brennan.

A gay escort has been convicted of a "well planned, pre-meditated execution" of a Bushey antique dealer.

Paul Simons was lured to a Chelmsford flat with the offer of cheap sex and ended up naked and dead on a bedroom floor.

His killer claimed he had stabbed Mr Simons as he had tried to carry out an extreme sex act on him.

But a Chelmsford Crown Court jury did not believe Michael Brennan and he was convicted on a charge of murder.

The 23-year-old showed no emotion as the majority verdict was announced.

He was due to be sentenced on Thursday following a trial at Chelmsford Crown Court.

Brennan carefully planned the death of antique dealer Mr Simons and hid knives and hammers in the Moulsham Street flat.

Police probing the killing also found notes written by Brennan saying what he was planning to do.

He wrote: "Hide in bedroom, stab heart, really hard, quick, hide in countryside."

Brennan, 23, denied murdering Mr Simons in the early hours of May 4 this year.

He admitted the manslaughter of Mr Simons but this plea was not accepted by the prosecution.

The jury of seven men and five women heard how Brennan and Mr Simon met at least three times before the murder.

At the time, Brennan, a cleaner at Broomfield Hospital, Chelmsford, was also working as a male escort for a website called Escort Guys.

On May 3 this year, Mr Simons and Brennan agreed to meet at the Moulsham Street flat when Brennan's boyfriend lived.

Brennan's boyfriend did not know he had keys to the flat and had left for a holiday in Paris.

CCTV showed Brennan and 54-year-old Mr Simons going into the flat and that was the last anyone ever saw of Mr Simons, prosecutor Andrew Jackson told the jury.

After the death, Brennan went to Chelmsford Police Station, used the phone outside the building and said he wanted to report a murder.

Mr Jackson said Brennan told police he had stabbed someone in the heart, back and throat.

When he was asked why, Brennan said: "I am an escort. The guy was getting rough so I stabbed him. He was doing things I did not want him to do.

"I told him to stop but he wouldn't," Brennan said.

Later on, he told a doctor he had stabbed Mr Simons as Mr Simons had attempted to perform an extreme sexual act on him.

The trial heard how Brennan, from The Green, Melbourne, Chelmsford, and Mr Simons were in regular phone and text contact until April this year.

There was then no response from Brennan until late April when contact was resumed.

It was then arranged for Brennan and Mr Simons from Bushey to meet at the flat.

He was offered a "cheapie" by Brennan as he said he did not have much money, the court heard.

In the flat, Mr Jackson told the jury how Mr Simons was defenceless when he was attacked.

He was naked and the speed of the assault caught him unaware, Mr Jackson said.

Two knives were used and the ferocity of the assault led to one blade breaking and the other left bent.

Head injuries were also consistent with a hammer being used as well, Mr Jackson told the jury.

"This was well planned and pre-meditated," Mr Jackson said.

"It was an efficient execution," he added.

Brennan did not give evidence in his trial but a forensic psychiatrist called by his defence team said he had a severe personality disorder and was mentally unstable.

He was interested in witchcraft, voodoo, Satanism and pagan beliefs and had watched horror throughout the night before the murder.

Dr Gillian Mezey told the court Brennan "was driven by his mental disorder" to kill. It had a substantial impact on his ability to make a rational judgment.

The films he had watched - The House of a Thousand Corpses and The Devil's Rejects - had made him start thinking about killing someone, Dr Mezey said.


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