A “controlling” man who murdered his partner who was about to leave him has been sentenced to life in prison and must serve 21 years before he can be considered for release.
The body of 30-year-old Madison Wright was found in Wat Tyler Country Park in Pitsea, Essex, on July 30 last year, eight days after she was last seen, Basildon Crown Court was told.
Gary Bennett, 37, of Caister Drive, Pitsea, denied her murder but was found guilty by jurors after two-and-a-half hours of deliberation, Essex Police said.
The force said he was sentenced at the same court on Wednesday to life in prison with a minimum term of 21 years.
Tracy Ayling KC, opening the prosecution case, had told jurors that Ms Wright was last seen on July 22 2022.
Ms Wright worked as a cleaner and attended an appointment cleaning a client’s house, where she was booked from 9am to 11am that day, the prosecutor said.
A Ring doorbell camera filmed her leaving the appointment and an ANPR (automatic number plate recognition) camera recorded her car travelling towards Bennett’s address, the prosecutor said.
In text messages read to the court by the prosecutor, Ms Wright had told Bennett on the morning of July 22 “you’re too controlling”.
Ms Wright also told Bennett: “I’ve not been happy for ages – we’ve had lots of chances to try to make it work but I just don’t think it is.”
She said Bennett killed Ms Wright then sent text messages to suggest she had gone away.
The prosecutor said Bennett went to a pawnbroker’s shop in Grays, Essex and sold a necklace that Ms Wright was wearing that day for £310.
Ms Wright’s body was found “covered in a pile of shrubs and branches and a fence panel” at the park.
Detective Superintendent Rob Kirby, head of major crime, said after the sentencing: “Garry Bennett is a schemer, a liar and a murderer.
“It didn’t take the jury long yesterday to conclude that.”
He said that Bennett was “too cowardly to ever admit what he had done” and that “we cannot imagine the pain” Ms Wright’s family are going through.
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