FOUR people have been convicted of killing a Southend man.

Kelly King, Ian Slater, Alex Stephens and Stuart Pearson had gone to King’s flat in Roots Hall Drive to get tenant Courtney Valentine-Brown to leave.

The group were armed with weapons and, in the ensuing struggle in the flat, Mr Valentine-Brown was stabbed through the femoral artery in his leg by Stephens.

The 36-year-old later died from his injuries.

All four had denied his murder, with Stephens, the man who stabbed Mr Valentine-Brown, claiming he had done it in self-defence.

King had been talking with her partner, Slater, about getting Mr Valentine-Brown and Solmaz Sevket out of her flat.

After being met with resistance, she had asked Slater to help, and he had recruited Stephens and Pearson to go to the flat.

They had alleged it was an “eviction gone wrong” and they never intended to hurt anyone.

However, a jury of six men and women found Ian Slater and Alex Stephens guilty of murder.

Kelly King and Stuart Pearson were found not guilty of murder but guilty of manslaughter.

During the trial at Basildon Crown Court, the jury heard evidence from all four defendants, along with medical experts and forensic examinations of the flat.

They also heard evidence from Solmaz Sevket, another person living in the flat, who said she had heard Mr Valentine-Brown screaming shortly after the four defendants entered the flat on February 20 last year.

Kelly King, and shortly afterwards Ian Slater, had come into the bedroom where she was staying telling her to leave. Slater had then become violent and hit her with a pole.

When she fled the flat and waited outside, she saw the four leaving with the weapons.

When giving his evidence, Ian Slater recalled that Stephens, once the four were in the car being driven away from the scene, had said: “I think I might have killed him.”

During her evidence, King described the scene in the flat when the thugs had attacked him, she had seen Mr Valentine-Brown bleeding from his head, standing in the lounge holding a chair. She had described him as “a lion tamer holding back a lion”.

King fought back tears as the jury delivered their verdict while Slater showed no emotion but hung his head. Stephens and Pearson remained stoney faced.

King, 30, of Howards Close, Westcliff, Slater, 49, of Wayletts, Leigh, Pearson, 43, of Satanita Road, Westcliff and Stephens, 36, of Hamlet Court Road in Westcliff, will be sentenced at Basildon Crown Court today.