Family haunted by Pontypridd woman's gruesome murder
The devastated family of a woman murdered by a man she met in a local pub before being dismembered say they are continually haunted by the brutal killing.
Former butcher Christopher May invited fragile 47-year-old Tracey Woodford back to his flat in Pontypridd, south Wales, before strangling her and then having sex with her corpse before going on a three-hour online porn binge.
Cardiff Crown Court heard two detectives carrying out routine inquiries into her disappearance were stunned after pulling back a shower curtain in May's home and witnessing a scene akin to a horror film.
Ms Woodford's torso was found stuffed in a rucksack in May's cupboard - while her head was stashed 138 metres inside an underground tunnel.
A jury took less than an hour to reach a guilty verdict.
In a statement Ms Woodford's family said: "Tracey was a very kind, caring and loving person who did not have a bad bone in her body.
"She was a devoted daughter to our mother Linda, a wonderful sister and a great auntie.
"The thoughts and visions of what he did to Tracey have haunted us for the past seven months.
"Our mother has nightmares most nights, waking up and screaming Tracey's name.
"Having to sit in court a few feet away from him and listen to all the graphic details of what he did to her body and how he disposed of certain parts was almost too painful to listen to.
"People say time is a great healer; we can honestly say no amount of time will ever heal our pain or fill the hole that this monster has left in our family."
On April 21, Ms Woodford met her killer in the Skinny Dog pub in Pontypridd - where staff refused to serve her because she was too drunk.
She was invited back to May's flat with the promise of alcohol - although he was warned "I'm not that kind of girl" when a hint about sex was made.
Father-of-two May, 50, later flew into a rage and strangled Ms Woodford after his wooing attempts - which included half a glass of cider and a Westlife song - failed.
A court heard he then had sex with his lifeless victim before slicing up body with a saw, stanley knife and secateurs.
After flushing some of her remains down the toilet, he then walked through Pontypridd with her severed head in a plastic bag before stashing it in a storm drain close to the town's rugby stadium.
The following day, Ms Woodford's worried mother and brother contacted the police after she failed to come home - and described her disappearance as totally out of character.
Inquiries would later lead Sgt Stuart Williams and Constable Craig Gardener to May's home in Andrews Court.
Sgt Williams described May's flat as smelling of "gone off meat" and the defendant appeared uneasy before the gruesome discovery of Ms Woodford's body parts was found in the shower.
And a visibly upset Con Gardener told a jury: "I thought I was watching a horror movie.
"I've been in the police force 11 years. I've never had to deal with anything like this before."
Six days before the murder, Skinny Dog barmaid Cerys Richards, 19, said May left her feeling repulsed after trying to chat her up.
She said: "He started talking about redheads and said something quite disturbing that I did not like - that they were good in bed.
"It was very inappropriate and I was offended that someone my father's age was saying things like that to me."
May had denied murder claiming he acted in self-defence after petite and frail Ms Woodford attacked him after he caught her stealing from his wallet.
Mitigation takes place tomorrow. May will be sentenced on Friday.