Based on the murder of Sylvia Fleming
Northern Ireland, Omagh, 1998
Seventeen year-old Sylvia Fleming already had a past. She lost her mother at a young age and her father couldn’t properly care for her. Raising three small girls just was too much for him. That caused that Sylvia had to grow up in foster care, with her two sisters.
They were a three-union. Them against the world, helping and caring for each other.
Sylvia just started her life. She was learning to become a hairdresser and working at a local nursing home
Sylvia and Steven
Then one day, Sylvia meets Steven Scott. A man who is nine years older than her. He’s 26 and a grown-up. He works as a part-time fireman, has his own flat, is into boxing and seems to have built the foundations of a life. He acts confident about himself but surrounds himself with teenagers, who he can influence. He manages to impress Sylvia that much that she starts a relationship with him.
Her sisters aren’t that equally impressed. The opposite. They don’t trust him. They had heard the word about him on the street. It worries them he seems to be a ladies’ man and has a knack for violent sex. Soon, they notice how much control he has over Sylvia and that he keeps her away from them. Something isn’t right here, but not in their wildest dreams had they calculated on what would happen.
The relationship between the two doesn’t go well. Steven is too intimidating, too controlling and his streak for violent sex doesn’t sit well with Sylvia. She decided to move out and move in with a friend. Shortly after, three months into the relationship Sylvia discovers she’s pregnant. Steven is angry. He didn’t have any intention of starting a family or consider Sylvia as his life partner. She continues to see him, though, desperately trying to keep the father of her unborn child into her life. She wants to give her baby a father. Who can blame her. Wouldn’t we all want to keep the secrecy of a new family in the making together? Steven might change his mind. Maybe he just needs to get used to the idea that he becomes a father. Sylvia is still so young and full of hope everything will turn out okay in the end, if she just hangs in there.
She was too young and too vulnerable to realise how dark the thoughts of Steven Scott really were. Never did she know upfront that he had decided to get rid of her, once and for all.
Friday, April 3rd
Steven’s at home in his Lisanelly Heights flat. He knows Sylvia’s coming and he has worked out a plan.
He isn’t alone this night. Three teenagers are there, when Sylvia arrives.
Steven invites her into the bedroom to take a drink together. He manages to feed her pills, to make her helpless. His fun can begin. She wouldn’t be able to stop him anymore now. Sylvia’s tied up and injected with insulin, while she clearly isn’t a diabetic. He experiments with her, fulfilling one of his ultimate fantasies. Finally he puts tape over her eyes, nose and mouth to prevent her from breathing. She has no chance to survive this.
Then Steven brings the three visiting teenagers into the equation. Two boys and a girl. He has made sure they are at his house the night Sylvia’s life ends. He wanted to show them her dead body after he finished his sadistic games. It was part of his fantasy. And that’s exactly what he did.
He isn’t worried they will tell on him. He makes clear they are accomplices now. They feel forced to do what he tells them to do.
Steven uses them to bring Sylvia’s body to the attic. After that hard work, they need to relax and go for a swim. They all visit a swimming pool, like nothing happened. When Steven returns to his house, he has more work to do. He wants to cut up Sylvia. He uses knives and a hack saw to divide her into eight pieces, in his bath tub.
Then he steals her money out of her coat pocket to buy products to get rid of her. Basically, he lets her pay for her own ‘funeral arrangements’.
Sylvia’s sisters, Josie and Kathleen, worry when Sylvia doesn’t come back to the friend’s house she’s living. They phone Steven. The second time he picks up, but denies having seen her.
The next day, the sisters and the friend pay Steven a visit at his house.
Steven seems nervous, keeps repeating what he already has said.
Strong suspicions are in the thoughts of the sisters and the friend. Steven probably has hurt Sylvia! Josie even looks up at the attic’s hatchway. Could he hold her captive there?
When Steven sees it, he does his very best to usher them out of the house. Before they go, they notice bag packs on the floor.
Search for Sylvia
Josie calls the police. When they set out to search for Sylvia, Steven’s very busy getting rid of those same bag packs, with parts of Sylvia in them. He again uses one of the teenage boys, to get those out of the house.
Steven comes up with the excuse of a bad back. He can’t carry the bag with her head and torso in it.
The teenager has to carry that one. Steven sure didn’t have a problem with his back when he cut Sylvia up, while it takes a lot of strength to cut someone up. If you can achieve that, you also can carry a backpack with a torso and a head.
He just wanted to make sure the other person carried the heavier load and to make sure he was up to his eyeballs in this horrible murder. Steven was counting on the teenager to never be able to say anything to anyone, because then he would go to jail for the crime as well. He, at least, was an accomplice after the fact.
After the ‘burial’ on a development site of new houses, Steven joins the search for Sylvia, faking concern for her well-being. He even passes the houses again, where he left her.
And he makes a telling comment: ‘I shouldn’t go up there, you never know what you might find’.
There’s a discrepancy in this part. The comment even could’ve been that he wanted them to go up there.
Either way, they couldn’t know it, but he gave them a clue of where Sylvia was. He enjoys this whole series of events. From the planning to the executing, to the cutting up, to the unofficial burial, to the search, while seeing what it does to her sisters that Sylvia is missing. He has the time of his life.
He must have felt really alive, with all the adrenaline that was going through his body. He knew it all and they knew nothing. He had taken away their sister, from right under their noses, and they hadn’t been able to prevent a thing.
He was in control and how he loved that feeling!
He enlists even another person to assist in getting rid of the last parts of Sylvia.
Two weeks after she was reported missing to the police, Steven gives an official statement at the police department. No, he doesn’t know a thing about her disappearance, no clue.
The police search his flat, but they find no evidence.
They then consider the option Sylvia has run away. They’re wrong.
Sylvia has been missing for almost eight weeks now.
Then it’s May 31. Scott’s 21 year-old friend let his tongue get away with him. He’s placed under arrest in Omagh. It’s him who takes police to the spot where Sylvia’s body is. Police do a full search of the building site on Circular Road. They find Sylvia, in pieces.
The loss of a baby sister
When Josie hears this, she thinks: ‘Parts? What the hell happened to my sister!‘
After 8 weeks of excruciating agony of not knowing where her sister was and what happened, it was confirmed. Sylvia was dead. She was found buried. In eight parts.
Josie still looks shocked and beaten down, when she talks about what happened to her sister.
The thoughts of what happened that faithful night will logically haunt her for the rest of her life.
Scott and the two teenagers were arrested immediately.
Outrage bursted, directly targeted at the ones involved. Vigilantes throw fireballs at their houses. Riots are going on for multiple days. Groups of people are watching, while the firemen try to put the fires out at those houses. People take the law into their own hands. Police of course doesn’t agree and the direct family wants it to stop as well.
On June 1, Steven appears in court for his murder charge. The two teenage boys and the 21 year-old are charged as well. The teenage girl wasn’t charged. Two years later, on April 1, 2000, the joke’s on Steven. He’s sentenced to a minimum of 19 years in prison.
One of the things a judge says: ‘This is a crime unique in its gruesomeness, in my experience’.
It’s true. They’re used to violence in Northern Ireland, but this crime was really shockingly macabre.
Steven didn’t show remorse. He didn’t feel it. He didn’t care, at all. Not even that he also had killed his own baby. By murdering the mother, the baby couldn’t survive either. The foetus only got buried with Sylvia much later than Sylvia herself was buried. Where ever their spirits are now, they probably are together.
You can watch the documentary here: My pregnant sister’s body was buried under a house.
If you find the link leading nowhere, you can request the video by contacting me. There’s no payment involved. I have a copy for personal use in my media archive. The rights of this documentary stay with the rightful owners.
The culprit’s and Sylvia’s picture are stills from the documentary series Britain’s Darkest Taboos
Updated: Monday february 22, 2016. Replaced the link to the documentary. The old link led to an ended account. Changed the font from Arial to Georgia. Changed the color of the links to green.