Man jailed for murdering partner after Facebook row
Published 11/09/2009 | 01:53
A man has been convicted of murdering his partner less than a fortnight after she changed her status to single on Facebook.
Brian Lewis first stabbed and then strangled Hayley Jones to death at the home they shared with their four children.
The 31-year-old from New Tredegar, south Wales, then fled the scene during the early hours of March 12 of this year and drove to a police station, leaving his children to find their mother's body in the living room.
Cardiff Crown Court heard the couple's relationship had been under strain due to financial pressures after the defendant was made redundant.
They also bickered over the amount of time Ms Jones had taken to spending on the Facebook website.
Lewis had claimed he had been trimming his finger nails with a kitchen knife when he tried to “touch” his 26-year-old partner's sleeping bag with the tip of the blade out of frustration following a row.
The knife pierced two sleeping bags and went through three layers of clothing Ms Jones had been wearing while trying to sleep on a settee before her ribcage prevented it from penetrating any further.
He said he later found himself with his hands around Ms Jones' throat and only came to and released his grip when he heard one of his sons calling out from upstairs.
After just three hours of deliberation, the jury of eight women and four men rejected this explanation and returned a unanimous guilty verdict.
Lewis showed no emotion as the verdict was read out although there were shouts of “Yes!” and “Get in there!” from the public gallery.
After calling for quiet, Judge Roderick Evans sentenced Lewis to life imprisonment and ordered that he serve a minimum tariff of 14 years, less the time spent in custody on remand.
During the trial the jury heard the couple had been together for 13 years and regarded themselves as husband and wife.
However, due to financial pressures after the defendant lost his job working on the railways in 2007, cracks had begun to appear in the relationship.
On March 2 of this year, Ms Jones went as far as changing her relationship status to single following a row over the disciplining of one of their sons.
The couple's four children, Jordan, Cory, Kian and Tia, are now in the care of their grandmother, Sally Williams.