Man tortured and killed in exs planned hit had boiling water poured on buttocks

A senior detective called to the scene of Thomas Campbell's murder said it was "like something from a horror film" after the man went through hours of torture.

Mr Campbell, 38, was killed after being subjected to two hours of "unimaginable pain" in his Tameside home by three men on July 2 in an organised attack orchestrated in part by his ex-wife, Coleen Campbell.

When detectives arrived at the property they found blood covering the walls and Mr Campbell lying dead in the hallway wearing nothing but a pair of socks.

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"I've been in the police for 20 years and I've never been to a scene like that ever before," Detective Sergeant Paul Davies of Greater Manchester Police told Manchester Evening News.

"Just seeing the state of it, it was like something from a horror film."

The dad-of-two suffered 61 separate injuries, including being stabbed, punched, kicked, strangled, and having boiling water poured on his bare buttocks.

In the wake of the murder, Ms Campbell, who was married to the victim for 10 years, and Stephen Cleworth, 38, who planned the attack but did not take part in the ambush, were found not guilty of murder but guilty of manslaughter following a five-week trial at Bolton Crown Court.

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Reece Steven, 29, was found guilty of murder and handed a life sentence to serve a minimum of 37 years after it was found he was one of three men who attacked Mr Campbell, while alleged "mastermind" John Belfield, who also took part in the attack, is still wanted by police.

Ms Campbell, Steven and Cleworth were all found guilty of conspiring to rob Mr Campbell, a cocaine dealer who played an "integral" part in a crime organisation.

Detective Inspector Mark Davis, the senior investigating officer in the case, added: "It was a horrendous scene.

"Despite us being inside that scene, in suits in the summer for over two weeks, we didn't find any forensic evidence linking the suspects to the scene, because they cleaned up after themselves."

Police instead used circumstantial evidence to charge the killers, including CCTV footage and phone data.

Ms Campbell, who plotted with others to have her ex robbed of cash, drugs or valuables, was jailed for 13 years on Wednesday (February 22) after it was found she had informed Mr Campbell's attackers of key details including her ex's van registration plate, his house number, and his movements.

Asked what he believed Ms Campbell's motive was, Detective Sergeant Davies said: "Jealousy. Simple as that, I think, pure jealousy."

Mr Campbell had been in a relationship with Belfield's ex-girlfriend at the time of his death after he and Ms Campbell divorced in 2021.

"She [Ms Campbell] knew that Belfield went out with Tom's current partner," Detective Sergeant Davies added.

"The two of them together, I think there was jealousy on his part as well, and that where we've ended up where we are, purely because of that."

Mum-of-four Ms Campbell is understood to have been contacted by Belfield on Instagram before the pair plotted the attack.

The pair shared a total of 35 phone calls and 68 messages, and also met up in person.

Belfield is currently believed to be on the run, while the third attacker, who police haven't been able to identify, is also wanted.

Detective Inspector Davis added: "We have still got two offenders that we know that were there the night that Tom was killed.

"We will keep going until we identify and bring those people to justice.

"We are working through many lines of enquiry to try and identify the other person that was present."

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