A Zimbabwean man is facing life behind bars for the horrific killing of a disabled barrister who was living rough on Canterbury’s streets.
Sobantu Sibanda, the son of a university lecturer and social worker, was found guilty today of murdering Guy Malbec.
Sibanda, a 28-year-old former financial advisor, had admitted the manslaughter of the 51-year-old but denied murder, maintaining he only intended “some harm” to his victim.
His three co-defendants, Gavin Houghton, Keith Hall and Airidas Sakalauskas were alleged by the prosecution to be Sibanda’s “henchmen” and had “participated in and encouraged” the violent attack.
Guy Malbec was killed in Castle Street car park on Easter Sunday (9 April) 2023, where he had been living in a tent on the lower ground floor for the previous few weeks.
He had a significant leg injury and needed to use a walking frame, stick or wheelchair to get around. Mr. Malbec had qualified as a barrister in 1998, but never practised and moved abroad, only returning to the UK in December 2022, at which point he became homeless.
Sobantu Sibanda attacked the victim, which was witnessed by three other men, Airidas Sakalauskas, Gavin Houghton and Keith Hall. They all knew the victim through a local charity that helps those who are homeless.
Sibanda later told a friend that he found some of his cocaine missing and admitted to attacking the victim, saying he may have killed him. After Sibanda told him this, the man called the emergency services, which led to the discovery of the victim’s body.
Mr. Malbec was left with severe head and facial injuries, broken ribs and a significant brain injury following the attack, in which a hammer and laptop were used. The victim’s blood was found on both items, along with Sibanda’s DNA.
All four men left the scene while the victim was still alive, stealing his phone, bank card and gemstones.
Sakalauskas and Houghton returned many hours later and discovered Mr. Malbec was dead. They returned that evening with Sibanda to remove and dispose of more than 80 items, including weapons used in the attack and blood-stained bedding. These were later found in council bins.
The fourth defendant, Keith Hall, deleted messages and call logs, which showed contact with Houghton before and after the attack, in order to conceal evidence.
Rachael Savage from CPS South East said: “This was a horrendous and brutal attack, sustained over about an hour, on a man completely unable to defend himself.
“Tragically, the evidence shows that Mr. Malbec was still alive after the group left him for dead and may have survived for a period of time.
“When Sibanda, Sakalauskas and Houghton did eventually return to the crime scene many hours later, instead of calling the emergency services, they cleared up the area to try and remove any trace that they had been there.”