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Life sentence for Leicester murderer

A man from Leicester has been sentenced to life imprisonment for the murder of Natasha Morais in her own home after being convicted by a jury. 

He also was sentenced for possessing a sawn off shotgun unconnected to the murder, which was recovered at the scene.  

Shannon Grant, 27, strangled Ms Morais whilst staying at her flat in Whetstone, Leicestershire. Before her murder she had impaired mobility and had been involved in a serious car accident. The defendant had befriended her since the accident.

Leicester Time: Life sentence for Leicester murderer
Picture: Leicestershire Police

She was found naked, concealed in the bottom of a divan bed with injuries that showed she had been restrained and tortured. The defendant had used cable ties to restrain her, and she had burn injuries. The murder involved sadistic conduct and was planned.  

Shortly after the killing, the defendant texted Ms Morais’s mother from the victim’s phone to ask for £2,000 urgently to pay a fine. Ms Morais’s mother was concerned because it seemed out of character, so, along with Ms Morais’s brother, they drove to her flat to check on her welfare. When they arrived, the defendant refused to let them in, telling them from a window that she was not there. He then jumped out of the window, leaving the scene. The police then attended the scene, forced entry to the flat and found Ms Morais’s body. 

After Ms Morais’s body was discovered, Grant was located and arrested. Several weapons including a sawn-off shot gun and some of the victim’s possessions, including her bank card, were found at the address. The gun was in his possession in the time leading up to his arrest. 

Leicester Time: Life sentence for Leicester murderer
Picture: Leicestershire Police

Grant was charged with murder having lied in his interview that he was not responsible. Cell site evidence from mobile phones, CCTV evidence, and DNA evidence from the scene following a thorough investigation provided compelling evidence that he was responsible, and he was convicted following a four-week trial at Leicester Crown Court. He was today, Thursday 21 March, sentenced to life imprisonment with a minimum term of 34 years for murder and four years concurrent for the shotgun.

Paru Raja, Senior Crown Prosecutor from the CPS said: “Shannon Grant manipulated Natasha Morais, befriending her after her car crash, during which her previous partner had been killed and developing a relationship with her. Having gained her trust, he became violent, torturing her and killing her, before trying to make some kind of financial gain from her death.

“He claimed he was given to violent behaviour because of his background as some kind of gangster. He had a significant criminal record for offences of robbery, having been released from licence in 2022 from a nine-year, nine month sentence for a series of robberies. The prosecution case was that he was just a violent man who turned on someone who was vulnerable.

“Grant has shown no remorse for his callous, merciless actions and made no attempt to explain why he turned on Ms Morais in the way he did, denying he was responsible.

“This is a deeply distressing and disturbing case of a vulnerable woman killed by someone she trusted. Our thoughts and sincere sympathies are with Natasha Morais’ family and loved ones.”

Ahead of the trial, Shannon Grant denied murdering Natasha Morais and claimed he had no knowledge of how she had died.
He was identified by Ms Morais’s family members as the man who had escaped through the window of Ms Morais’s flat.

The CPS presented CCTV evidence of Grant disappearing down an alleyway near the flat carrying a bag, before reappearing without it. This was presented as evidence that he had disposed of items he thought might link him to the death of Ms Morais.

The CPS also presented DNA evidence from the flat window which showed that Grant had climbed through it.

Grant had a history of violence, which the CPS considered highly relevant to the violence that led to the death of Ms Morais. The prosecution applied successfully to the court to share this information with the jury to demonstrate that he was capable of this kind of violent conduct.

The CPS also showed the jury that bags had been found in a wheelie bin next to the property where Grant was arrested containing clothing belonging to Ms Morais and the defendant, as well as property belonging to Ms Morais, including a bank card, watch and other personal effects. The bag also contained cable ties, most of which had Ms Morais’s DNA on them. The prosecution’s case was that he had taken these with him disposed of them well away from the scene of the murder to avoid detection.