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Chatham murder plotter jailed

Michael Butler. Photo: Kent Police.
Michael Butler. Photo: Kent Police.

A man who plotted to have a man murdered for £500 has been jailed for six years.

Michael Butler was arrested in April 2018 after he had spent several months speaking with a man who he believed could help arrange the murder of an acquaintance.

Unbeknown to him, his associate warned the intended victim and recorded one of their conversations for Kent Police to use as evidence.

Butler, 45, of Dale Street, Chatham, pleaded not guilty to encouraging or assisting in the commission of a murder, believing it will be committed.

He was found guilty following a trial and sentenced at Maidstone Crown Court on Thursday 11th April.

Murder plot

The court heard that across late 2017 and early 2018, Butler spoke with a man who he believed would be able to help arrange a murder on his behalf.

Instead of going through with Butler’s plan, the individual contacted the victim over Facebook to warn him of Butler’s intentions.

On 13th April, the associate of Butler spoke again with the planned victim to advise him he had recorded a conversation with the offender which discussed the plot at length.

The recording was provided to police and Butler was arrested during the early hours of 15th April.

In the recording, which is 36 minutes in length, Butler is heard detailing the possible ways the planned victim could be killed.

When the option of simply assaulting the victim is put to Butler, he said he would like the victim “out of the picture all the time” before adding he “wants him out of the picture permanently.”

When discussing costs, it is suggested the murder could cost a ‘monkey’ – a slang term for £500.

Butler also discussed how an alibi could be arranged and suggested the victim’s body could be placed in a car which is then set alight to destroy DNA evidence.

Dangerous individual

Detective Constable Kara Sweetland, Kent Police’s investigating officer for the case, said: “There can be no doubt that Butler was in the midst of commissioning what he thought was a well organised murder that would be untraceable to him.

“His willingness to have a man killed, simply because he did not like him, shows him to be a dangerous individual who is willing to cause serious harm.

“I am pleased that the jury were able to agree with the findings of our investigation and that he is now in prison, where he is unable to hurt other members of the public.”