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Cannabis-addicted gangster ruled ‘not a risk’ day before he murdered father, 51, in front of his son

Yesterday at the end of a two-week-long trial at the Old Bailey, Darren Pencille (pictured), 36, was found guilty of murdering 51-year-old IT consultant Lee Pomeroy

A couple of years after the birth of their son, Svetlana Pomeroy took to social media to tell her Russian friends how happy she was to have made her home in the UK with her British husband Lee.

‘The country might be hard to comprehend for a Russian mind,’ she wrote on a website forum based in her native Chukotka, one of the country’s most remote, far-eastern areas, ‘but I love how people want to be friendly here, how they smile. There isn’t as much immorality and depravity as there is in Russia.’

How those words must have come back to haunt the 51-year-old mother when her husband Lee Pomeroy was viciously and senselessly stabbed to death by a stranger in front of their 14-year-old son on a train in January.

In an instant, her belief that Britain was the perfect place for family life was destroyed by a man who, the Daily Mail can now reveal, was a notorious gang member with a swathe of gun and knife convictions.

Yesterday at the end of a two-week-long trial at the Old Bailey, Darren Pencille, 36, was found guilty of murdering 51-year-old IT consultant Lee in a ‘savage and unrelenting onslaught’ on a Guildford to Waterloo train on January 4 – the day before what would have been the father-of-one’s 52nd birthday. He will now serve a minimum of 28 years in jail.

Lee Pomeroy (pictured), a businessman from Surrey, died just seven minutes after the attack while on the platform at Horsley railway station

Lee Pomeroy (pictured), a businessman from Surrey, died just seven minutes after the attack while on the platform at Horsley railway station

Throughout his trial, Pencille kept up the pretence that he had acted in self-defence, despite brutally stabbing Lee in the neck 18 times in just 30 seconds with a lock knife. The businessman from Surrey died just seven minutes later on the platform at Horsley railway station while evil Pencille raced away from the scene of his crime, aided by his girlfriend Chelsea Mitchell.

A couple of years after the birth of their son, Svetlana Pomeroy (pictured) took to social media to tell her Russian friends how happy she was to have made her home in the UK with her British husband Lee

A couple of years after the birth of their son, Svetlana Pomeroy (pictured) took to social media to tell her Russian friends how happy she was to have made her home in the UK with her British husband Lee

It is only now that Pencille’s trial is over that the Mail can reveal the shocking truth about the killer and the extent of his evil. He is a career criminal, a member of London’s notorious ‘South Man Syndicate’ gang who had previously been jailed for possession of a gun and a stabbing and had 14 convictions for violent crime and burglary.

He was also addicted to super-strong cannabis which he regularly smoked, despite being diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia in 2003 and being under the care of a psychiatric team.

He had previously bragged about his convictions, and spoke of battling rivals ‘to the f***ing death’ on behalf of his gang which has terrorised areas such as Tooting, Streatham and Thornton Heath since the 1990s. He kept images of various knives on his mobile phone.

Pencille was convicted of ABH following a fight in 1999 and twice convicted of having a blade in 2002 and 2004. In 2003, he was charged with rape in his home town of Loughborough in Leicestershire but the charge was later discontinued.

On one occasion in 2010, he stabbed a man twice in the neck in a row over a Rizla cigarette paper at a hostel in south London, cutting his artery – a crime he boasted about in a gang video posted on YouTube where he challenged a rival to ‘come and confront me’.

‘The country might be hard to comprehend for a Russian mind,’ Mrs Pomeroy wrote on a website forum based in her native Chukotka, one of the country’s most remote, far-eastern areas, ‘but I love how people want to be friendly here, how they smile. There isn’t as much immorality and depravity as there is in Russia’

‘The country might be hard to comprehend for a Russian mind,’ Mrs Pomeroy wrote on a website forum based in her native Chukotka, one of the country’s most remote, far-eastern areas, ‘but I love how people want to be friendly here, how they smile. There isn’t as much immorality and depravity as there is in Russia’

Perhaps most shocking of all, however, is that the authorities were well aware of just how much of a threat Pencille posed to society. Aside from his criminal convictions, he was being managed by psychiatrists from the NHS-run Lambeth Community Forensic Team in South London. He was also provided with housing.

And yet, as is clear from those who worked with him, he spurned all the opportunities to help himself, preferring to blame others and complain when he couldn’t get his own way and accusing staff of ‘trying to set him up’. He threatened to kill a member of staff at a mental health hostel in June last year.

British Transport Police released a photograph of defendant Darren Pencille, 36 (left) and victim Lee Pomeroy, 51, talking in a carriage on a London-bound train at Guildford, Surrey

British Transport Police released a photograph of defendant Darren Pencille, 36 (left) and victim Lee Pomeroy, 51, talking in a carriage on a London-bound train at Guildford, Surrey

Pencille had previously bragged about his convictions, and spoke of battling rivals ‘to the f***ing death’ on behalf of his gang which has terrorised areas such as Tooting, Streatham and Thornton Heath since the 1990s. He kept images of various knives on his mobile phone

Pencille had previously bragged about his convictions, and spoke of battling rivals ‘to the f***ing death’ on behalf of his gang which has terrorised areas such as Tooting, Streatham and Thornton Heath since the 1990s. He kept images of various knives on his mobile phone

On one occasion in 2010, he stabbed a man twice in the neck in a row over a Rizla cigarette paper at a hostel in south London, cutting his artery – a crime he boasted about in a gang video posted on YouTube where he challenged a rival to ‘come and confront me’

On one occasion in 2010, he stabbed a man twice in the neck in a row over a Rizla cigarette paper at a hostel in south London, cutting his artery – a crime he boasted about in a gang video posted on YouTube where he challenged a rival to ‘come and confront me’

Pencille was seen by one of the team, Dr David Ndegwa, just a day before Lee’s murder, but he said later: ‘We had no concerns of risk to himself or to others’, and he was not deemed to present any kind of threat to the public.

According to a statement Dr Ndegwa gave to police: ‘Throughout the review his mood was normal, his speech was normal in form and content, though he spoke with anger about housing problems … There were no overt psychotic symptoms and he was more relaxed than on previous reviews. He felt that making music, wearing earphones, helped his concentration and reduced preoccupation with other problems.’

But despite being prescribed several different kinds of medication, Pencille preferred to smoke cannabis, which jurors heard would either calm him or make him more argumentative. On a previous occasion, in 2015, Pencille’s condition was so serious that he was admitted to a secure unit for a month where he was ‘confrontational and agitated if his requests were not met immediately’.

Dr Ndegwa’s statement adds: ‘He was sometimes unsettled and disruptive and would be angry and threatening when challenged about his behaviour.’

Tragically, Lee Pomeroy had no idea of any of this when he crossed paths with Pencille on a train to Waterloo. Lee and his son were setting off on a ‘father and son’ pre-birthday day out together when they boarded the train at London Road station in Guildford.

Pencille stepped into the same carriage, apparently muttering under his breath that they were blocking the aisle and saying: ‘Ignorance is bliss’. A verbal exchange took place.

Chelsea Mitchell arriving at the Old Bailey, London, on July 10, where she was on trial for assisting an offender following the murder of Lee Pomeroy on a London-bound train

Chelsea Mitchell arriving at the Old Bailey, London, on July 10, where she was on trial for assisting an offender following the murder of Lee Pomeroy on a London-bound train

Unaware that challenging Pencille’s rudeness would have such cataclysmic consequences, Lee followed him to the next carriage, reprimanding him for humiliating him in front of his son. Other passengers heard Pencille ‘ranting and raving’, daring Lee to touch him and ‘see what happens’ and then threatening: ‘I’m going to kill this man.’

In a split second, he whipped the lock knife from his pocket and plunged it into Lee’s neck. A further 17 blows followed as Lee tried in vain to fight him off, suffering ‘terrible, deep’ cuts to his hand where he desperately grasped at the blade.

Until those horrific few seconds, the Pomeroys’ safe, comfortable life in a leafy area of Guildford, Surrey, was a world away from jobless Pencille’s criminal lifestyle in the gang underworld.

While Pencille spurned the help and opportunities he was given on countless occasions, Lee Pomeroy and his wife Svetlana were a hard-working aspirational couple who wanted the best for their son.

Lee Morris Pomeroy was born on January 5, 1967, in Hackney, east London, the son of motor mechanic Barry Pomeroy and his wife Kathleen. Svetlana Tsyba was born in Russia in 1968 at the height of Leonid Brezhnev’s presidential reign and grew up in the gold mining settlement of Ostrozhniy.

Pencille was convicted of ABH following a fight in 1999 and twice convicted of having a blade in 2002 and 2004. In 2003, he was charged with rape in his home town of Loughborough in Leicestershire but the charge was later discontinued

Pencille was convicted of ABH following a fight in 1999 and twice convicted of having a blade in 2002 and 2004. In 2003, he was charged with rape in his home town of Loughborough in Leicestershire but the charge was later discontinued

Evil Pencille raced away from the scene of his crime, aided by his girlfriend Chelsea Mitchell (pictured)

Evil Pencille raced away from the scene of his crime, aided by his girlfriend Chelsea Mitchell (pictured)

Her father Boris was an engineer. Her mother was a teacher. She trained as a journalist and worked for a while in Moscow for ‘Russia’s Dior’, fashion designer and theatrical costumier Slava Zaitsev, before moving to the UK in 2001.

She married Lee in Sheffield the following year and they lived together in Essex before moving to Guildford. She worked as a secretary in her husband’s computer programming company. Their only child was born in 2004.

In a pointless moment of madness, the stable, middle-class world that Svetlana had become part of was brutally torn apart. As she put it herself this week, her life and that of her son has been ‘changed for ever’ by the murder of her husband of 18 years.

Writing about her husband online back in 2006, she said: ‘He believes that the past belongs to the past and that you must live in the now and think about the future.’

Now that her husband’s killer has been jailed, Svetlana has been forced to do just that, devoting the empty years ahead to her heartbroken son who has to live with the memory of cradling his father in his arms as he died.  

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk


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