A “paranoid” killer who stabbed his girlfriend to death after working himself up into an “alcohol-fuelled fury” has been jailed for a minimum of 16 years and nine months.
Stafford Crown Court heard 29-year-old Kimberley Deakin was forced to scream to neighbours for help after being knifed in a “brutal” attack by her boyfriend Lewis Crofts on November 6 last year.
The court was told 30-year-old Crofts stabbed Ms Deakin to the face, neck and torso with a kitchen knife in the “near presence” of her baby daughter, who was either in the same room or an adjacent room.
The defendant had previously spoken of his intent to kill his victim and her lover to a friend after suspecting the pair of having an affair.
Crofts, of Broadstone in Poole, Dorset, pleaded guilty to murdering Ms Deakin in her home in Leigh Street, Burslem, Staffordshire, at a previous hearing.
Handing Crofts a life sentence on Tuesday, Judge Kristina Montgomery QC said: “This was a very grave offence.
“You took the life of a much-loved mother in her prime years.
“You did so in a brutal manner and left her seeking help of neighbours while you made good your escape.”
The court heard that upon arrest, Crofts told officers: “I have done what I have done.
“It’s as simple as that.”
The judge continued: “You worked yourself up into an alcohol-fuelled fury.
“Your thoughts began to move towards a murderous solution to your torment.
“This happened while her baby was in the same room, or, if not, an adjacent room.”
The court was shown police body-cam footage of Crofts looking “nonplussed” at the time of his arrest, before police station CCTV captured the defendant later breaking down after hearing of Ms Deakin’s death.
At the station, Crofts could be heard saying: “I never meant that, is she dead?
“I didn’t mean for that to happen.”
After sentencing, the victim’s mother and her partner, Davina Kirkland and Wayne Parker, said: “The day my baby girl was taken away from us was the hardest thing that we have ever had to face.
“We all miss her terribly and I hope that the justice served today will help her rest in peace.”
Also paying tribute to Ms Deakin, her father and stepmother, John and Vicki Deakin, said: “Kim was my family’s rock.
“There will never be enough justice but we know she will be looking down at us all thinking ‘that’s my family and I’m proud of each and every one of them’.”
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