Natasha Morais tragic murder case highlights the importance of helping clients protect inheritance

A 27-year-old man from Coventry has been jailed for 34 years after murdering his partner, in an attempt to procure £50,000 worth of inheritance. He wrapped her naked body in a blanket and hid it in a storage area under her bed after torturing and then killing her. 

Shannon Grant, who has previous convictions and a history of violence, purchased cable ties at a discount store, before heading to Morais’ flat. He maintained in court that a ‘gang’ had broken into his girlfriend’s flat and killed her.

Yesterday, drug dealer Grant was tried and found guilty at Leicester Crown Court for the murder of 40-year-old Natasha Morais, of Whetsone, on June 22 2023. The aunt, sister and daughter was known as ‘Tasha’ by her friends and family. She had inherited £50,000 from a family member, which was deposited into her account periodically by her mother. Grant was aware of this, and sought to obtain the money. In court, Grant claimed he thought the amount was higher, closer to £100,000.

‘Tasha’ Morais,40, was described as ‘kind and loyal’ by her family (no credit)

Natasha’s body was found by the police shortly after they arrived at her flat on the evening of 22 June last year. The post-mortem identified 25 separate injuries to her body, none of which were visible on CCTV footage captured on the day prior to her death. She was also covered in ‘horrific’ burns.

Mrs Justice Tipples, said: 

“I am sure that you tortured Natasha Morais in her home in order to extract money from her or her mother and, in the course of doing so, murdered her.”

‘The lives of Natasha’s family, and her friends, will never be the same again’ after they heard of how Grant, who plead guilty to not having a firearm licence, tortured his victim by burning her, hitting her and tying her up. He then hid her naked body in a storage area underneath the mattress of her bed before escaping out of a window with a sawn off shotgun. This was just before her anxious mother and brother arrived. The judge said the attack displayed ‘sheer cruelty and physical and mental suffering deliberately inflicted’ by Grant. He was convicted of murder unanimously by a jury.

In 2022 Morais had inherited £50,000. Grant was made aware of this information by her then boyfriend Rueben Craven. Craven also told Grant that that Morais’ mother sent her the money. She would call her mother and ask to be transferred money, a fact Grant was well aware of. During their relationship, Morais would buy Grant expensive gifts such as clothes and a watch. Grant also had her  card details on his Apple Pay app, and would spend her money freely. Despite having a sexual relationship, it seemed apparent that Grant ‘did not care’ for his new partner.

The Judge said: 

“I am sure, having listened to all the evidence in this case, that by 21 June 2023 you had formed a very close relationship with Natasha Morais and you had done so not because you cared for her, but because you wished to exploit her, and you took advantage of her grief and unhappiness in order to do so.”

On June 21 2023 Grant left his home in Coventry with a tomahawk, shotgun and a crowbar. He was picked up by his driver and travelled to Whetsone with the intention of tying up his partner in order to extract her inheritance. Just before 5pm on that evening, the drug dealer stopped at a local discount store and bought two packets of cable ties with Morais’ bank card.

The last time Morais was seen alive was at 1.38am on 22 June 2023 when she took delivery of a takeaway from a delivery driver outside the entrance to her home.

During the morning Natasha spoke to her mother, who she had saved into her phone as ‘My Life’, as she always did. Mrs Morais said that she understood that her daughter was at home in her flat, and she ‘seemed tired’. That was the last time Jacqueline Morais spoke to her daughter.

That afternoon Morais made three calls to a bank, with whom she also had an account. Later, three messages were
sent from Morais’ phone to her mother’s phone asking for £2,000.

The messages, were crafted by Grant pretending to be Morais.

After desperately ringing his driver and other friends, attempting to get back to Coventry, the murderer saw Morais’ mother and brother arrive at her home and calmly spoke to them from the bedroom window, saying that Natasha had gone to Weston-Super-Mare to pay a fine at the police station. He refused to let them into the flat.

Grant left his belongings in a bin after crawling out of Morais’ window onto the street, including bloody clothes and the sawn off shotgun. He was later arrested at 11pm not far from his home.

Drug dealer Shannon Grant,27 (Leicestershire Police) has been sentenced to life following the murder of Natasha Morais

The barrister defending Grant hoped attempted to portray the case as not one for ‘gain’ and did not involve ‘sadistic conduct’, attempting to get the sentence shortened to 15 years.

Justice Tipples concluded:

“The only sentence I can pass on you is one of life imprisonment. It is in any event the proper sentence for your crime. If they do not order your release, you will remain in custody for the rest of your life. If they do release you, you will be liable to recall to custody for the rest of your life. You have five convictions for ten offences, which show a extensive history of violence from a relatively young age.

“In further mitigation, it is said that you have expressed remorse and that you did so in your evidence at trial. KC Cooper also alludes to the previous caring treatment you provided to Natasha Morais. I do not accept that behaviour discloses any element of remorse, rather that was to further your own ends, and gain Natasha’s trust. On top of that I do not accept that you have shown any genuine remorse for what you have done. You have throughout this trial maintained that you did not murder Natasha Morais and it was gang of five unknown intruders. That was
a lie. You have at all times denied any responsibility for Natasha’s death.”

Grant met Morais through a mutual friend between the end of 2022 and start of 2023.

Grant, who had spent time in prison, befriended Morais’ partner Rueben Craven when they were both incarcerated and after Craven’s death, started a relationship with Morais.

On 5 June 2023, Craven was driving Morais’ car when it crashed and he was fatally injured. He died four days later on 9 June 2023. Natasha walked away from the crash with minor injuries, but was said to be left devastated by this loss.

The Judge said:

“You, Shannon Grant, knew that[Morais was grieving] and you took the opportunity to increase your friendship with her. Natasha told her mother that, you, together with a person called Irish, were looking after her and together you were her guardian angels. Before long, you were in a sexual relationship with Morais.”

Prior to Craven’s death, Grant said the trio were planning to use Morais’ flat as a ‘base of operations to sell cocaine in the area’.

Mrs Justice Tipples said: 

“She[Morais] was loved beyond measure and was a kind, caring, loving and loyal person. She had an infectious laugh and a beautiful smile. Her family knew that her life was complicated and that she had her own issues, but Natasha meant the world to them, and was a very significant member of their family.”

In a victim impact statement, Ms Morais’s family said they had felt an ’emotional hurricane of pain’ following her death.

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