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A ‘psychopath with a conscience’: Mark Brown and the Little Bridge Farm murders

A photograph of killer Mark Brown
Image: Murders at Little Bridge Farm

Murders at Little Bridge Farm is a brand-new true crime documentary series that will tell the shocking story of Mark Brown and the double life he led. The self-proclaimed ‘psychopath with a conscience’ was a family man by day but a sadistic killer by night, convicted of murdering Alex Morgan and Leah Ware.

The two-part special reveals how Brown used escort websites to lure his chosen victims to a homemade dungeon at Little Bridge Farm. Murders at Little Bridge Farm will premiere on Crime + Investigation and Crime + Investigation Play in April.

On 18th November 2021, police in Kent initiated a search for 34-year-old Alexandra Morgan following her reported disappearance. Four days earlier, Alexandra had left her two children with her parents and said she was going on a spa trip for a couple of days. However, Alexandra failed to return, prompting police to launch an investigation.

A public appeal was issued, urging anyone with information or sightings of Alexandra to come forward, as Inspector Ian Jones announced: ‘We are concerned for Alexandra's welfare and are asking anybody who has seen her or knows where she might be to contact us immediately.’

To piece together Alexandra's whereabouts, detectives retraced her last-known actions. CCTV footage revealed her presence at Ashwal Garage in Cranbrook at 7:20am on 13th November, where she was observed purchasing fuel for her Mini Cooper. Detectives released images of the vehicle, urging the public to be vigilant. Additionally, photographs of Alexandra, along with a description of her clothing during her last sighting— a knee-length green quilted coat, a black top, ripped blue jeans and knee-length black boots — were made public in an effort to gather relevant information.

Detectives continued scouring through CCTV footage to try and figure out where Alexandra travelled to after the garage. In tandem, they traced her mobile phone and used Automatic Number Plate Recognition records. These tracked Alexandra to Little Bridge Farm, Rock Lane, a location near Hastings comprising of two main barns and a selection of other smaller buildings, sheds and shipping containers. Adjacent to the farm were CCTV cameras, which captured Alexandra’s car entering the farm along with a second vehicle.

Detectives determined that the second vehicle, a gold Jaguar, belonged to Mark Brown, a mechanic leasing and utilising Little Bridge Farm as his workshop. Background checks on Brown revealed no criminal history, but further investigation uncovered his connection with Alexandra through the AdultWork website, where she advertised her services as an escort. In October, he had proposed an opportunity to her, promising a substantial payment of up to £100,000 for a ‘risk-free job’.

As Brown was identified as the last individual to have seen Alexandra before her disappearance, he was brought in for questioning and voluntarily provided DNA samples and fingerprints. Acknowledging a sexual encounter with Alexandra, Brown asserted that she had left the farm after approximately 45 minutes. Brown was released from custody as the search for Alexandra intensified, with detectives directing their focus towards Little Bridge Farm and Brown's associated vehicles.

During a search of his van, detectives came across a prescription for a woman named Leah Ware. Detectives attempted to track Leah down, only to discover that she was also missing. The missing person inquiry transformed into a double missing person inquiry and Brown was feeling anxious. On 24th November, he called his boss, Alan Downs, warning him that he was ‘going down’ for ‘double murder’. The following day, Brown was arrested on suspicion of Alexandra’s murder.

The search for Alexandra and Leah persisted, leading detectives to scrutinise a Sevenoaks construction site where Brown had been employed. In early December, bone and tooth fragments were unearthed from an oil barrel discarded in a skip. Forensic analysis confirmed the teeth belonged to Alexandra, prompting a shift from a missing person inquiry to a murder investigation. Brown was formally charged with Alexandra's murder as detectives continued their search for Leah.

Brown was ultimately charged with both Alexandra and Leah’s murder after it was established that he had also met Leah on AdultWork. Subsequent searches at the farm revealed the tragic fate of Leah's Pomeranian dog, Lady, who had been tethered to a kettlebell and discarded into a pond on the premises. Although Leah's body remained unrecovered, detectives speculated that she had suffered a similar fate as Alexandra.

On 17th October 2022, a jury of 10 men and two women was selected, marking the commencement of the murder trial. The prosecution informed the jury that Brown harboured an interest in ‘extreme sexual activities’ and had allegedly held Leah as a ‘voluntary prisoner’ inside a shipping container at Little Bridge Farm during a coercive relationship spanning approximately two years. Leah, a mother of three and sex worker leading a tumultuous life, had encountered Brown on the same escort website where he met Alexandra.

Brown and Leah cohabitated in an apartment for a period, but when her lease expired, she relocated to Brown's farm. Initially residing in an on-site caravan, Leah later moved into a modified shipping container equipped with a kitchenette and bedroom, that was only lockable from the outside. Tamsin Gregory, Leah's friend, was aware of her relationship with Brown and expressed concern during her testimony, stating: ‘Leah was using drugs, and she said he would buy her drugs and watch her smoke them, but he never took them, and then he would do weird stuff like moving stuff around, basically to mess with her head.’

The prosecution theorised that after May 2021, Brown allegedly killed Leah at the farm and disposed of her body. On 7th May, her phone ceased activity on the network. Shortly thereafter, Brown purchased six litres of petrol. Despite Leah's disappearance, Brown continued to collect prescriptions for her mental health conditions and withdrew funds from her bank account.

In the six months between killing Leah and Alexandra, Brown had texted a friend and described himself as a ‘psychopath with a conscience’. He had also confessed to disposing of something, presumably Leah’s remains. He had written: ‘It’s a very unpleasant thing to do – an old oil drum, five litres of diesel, and hey presto, there’s not very much left. The things I have done weigh heavily on my heart, on my head and my soul.’

In the days leading up to Alexandra’s murder, Brown had been searching online for violent pornography. Prosecutor Duncan Atkinson said to the jury: ‘Just before the second set of messages, the defendant had searched the word “beaten” and that just after the last set he had searched the word “rape”. You will want to consider whether it is a coincidence that Alex Morgan should die when she attended her rendezvous, or whether what she feared was what the defendant intended.’

Throughout the trial, Brown asserted that Leah was still alive and that Alexandra had died accidentally at the farm after slipping and hitting her head. He claimed to have panicked and burned Alexandra's body. The prosecutors dismissed his claim, pointing out the Leah may have been aware of the danger she was in before her murder. She hid a large amount of cash for her son at her home, as well as a handwritten note saying, check postcode TN34 5NY Rock Lane, opposite Bartletts’ - a description of the address for Little Bridge Farm. The jury ultimately dismissed Brown’s narrative, and following more than 10 hours of deliberation, they rendered a guilty narrative on both murder charges.

Mark Brown received a sentencing of two life terms with a minimum of 49 years. Judge Nicholas Hilliard, in delivering the sentence, characterised Brown's actions as ‘depraved’ and conveyed: ‘No sentence I pass is any measure of the lives that have been lost. No sentence can put right what the defendant has done – that’s not possible. Brown hasn’t attended court today, which shows his conscience is untroubled by what he has done.’