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Ex-butcher to be jailed for decapitating and dismembering woman

Published 20/11/2015

Tracey Woodford was decapitated and dismembered (South Wales Police/PA)
Tracey Woodford was decapitated and dismembered (South Wales Police/PA)

A former butcher who strangled a woman to death before decapitating and dismembering her will today find out how long he will be jailed for.

Christopher Nigel May brutally murdered fragile Tracey Woodford in a killing motivated by lust just hours after meeting her at his local pub.

Steakhouse worker May, who had an eerie fixation with red-heads, flew into a rage with ginger-haired Ms Woodford when she went back to his flat in Pontypridd, south Wales, and spurned his advances.

Jurors were also told that after choking her to death, he had sex with his lifeless victim before chopping up her body and then going on a three-hour online porn binge.

May's sadism went even further after he cut off the 47-year-old's head and then carried it through town in a plastic bag before stashing it in a dark underground tunnel - with prosecutors believing he was keeping it as souvenir.

Lying alcoholic father-of-two May, known to pub locals as "little legs", claimed that petite Ms Woodford had attacked him and he killed her in self-defence.

However, a jury took a mere 50 minutes to return a guilty verdict on May - who now faces dying behind bars.

He will receive an automatic life sentence, but the question for High Court Judge Mrs Justice Nicola Davies will be what minimum term to set.

Yesterday, Ms Woodford's elderly mother Linda and her brother Sean both described their horror and pain in moving victim impact statements.

Prosecuting counsel Roger Thomas QC spoke about how mother Linda was able to see her eldest child for one last time thanks to the careful work of mortuary staff.

In a statement read aloud by Mr Thomas, Mrs Woodford said: "I thought 'What person would do something like this? What did he do to her?'

"I stood over her crying. I didn't know what to do or say.

"I kissed her on the forehead and then I had to leave the room.

"Tracey led a simple life which revolved around her family. She was happy doing her crosswords and wouldn't have hurt a fly. I miss her so much.

"I wake up in the morning and the first thing I think of is Tracey. Every day I just get by, I am surviving.

"This man has torn my family apart. It's destroyed us. It has totally destroyed us all."

Brother Sean added: "I miss my sister dearly and I will never understand why she was cruelly taken from us."

May's trial head that six days before the killing on April 21 this year, he had made "creepy" comments to a teenage girl saying that "red heads were better in bed" before stroking her fingers.

He was also described as being very skilled at de-boning and skinning animal carcasses during his 18-year stint as a butcher and used a "gruesome collection" of knives, shears and scissors to chop up his victim.

After calling for a minimum 25 year prison term, prosecutor Mr Thomas said: "The Crown submit there are disturbing features about the way this man dismembers the body of Ms Woodford but cuts off and retains the fingers."

Sentencing is expected to take place at 10.30am.

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