Minimum 15 years for stab killer
A jealous boyfriend who murdered his girlfriend after rowing over her three-year-old son's christening was today jailed for life.
Liam King, 26, stabbed Rebecca Ayres, 24, 11 times with a knife in a "ferocious" attack, then fled the house they shared in Salford, Greater Manchester.
King, described as "controlling, abusive and violent", became jealous because Miss Ayres had been in regular contact with Colin Farn, the father of her son, Riley, to arrange the youngster's christening, Manchester Crown Court heard.
Miss Ayres had told King if he did not attend her son's christening on March 9 this year, then their relationship was over.
But four days before, on March 5, King, in a "sudden outburst of violence" attacked the young mother at their home in Holt Street, Salford.
He had been in a relationship with his victim for just 18 months but friends had noticed bruising and marks on her face and body at the hands of King, who today pleaded guilty to her murder.
Passing sentence Judge David Stockdale told the defendant: "She had reported to them numerous instances of violence and if those accounts are right, you were a jealous, controlling, abusive and violent man towards her.
"This was a ferocious, sustained and repeated attack with a knife causing 11 stab wounds and causing Rebecca Ayres violent and tragic death.
"She lost her life, her son lost his mother, Rebecca Ayres has been lost to her parents and many friends."
Judge Stockdale gave King a mandatory life sentence and ordered he serve a minimum of 15 years before parole.
Riley was not at the address at the time of the murder.
Earlier Mark Kellet, prosecuting, told the court while Riley lived mostly with his mother, he had regular contact with his father, Mr Farn, when he was on leave from his job as a merchant seaman.
As the christening loomed contact increased, sparking jealousy from King, the court heard.
At around 10.30pm on the evening of March 5, the couple's neighbour was awoken by an argument next door.
She could hear Miss Ayres pleading: "Get away from me, get off me, don't touch me."
The next morning when Miss Ayres' mother Wendy could get no response from her daughter, her father Roger was summoned to the address.
While there he saw King, woken by the knocking on the front door, fleeing over the back gate and a police officer called to gain entry.
Mr Kellet told the court: "As soon as he entered the kitchen, Pc Parkinson observed blood and footsteps in the blood leading from the sitting room to the kitchen.
"In the sitting room he could see a larger amount of blood and a body wrapped in a duvet.
"Pc Parkinson was able to see stab wounds to the arms and body."
Crime scene experts concluded Miss Ayres had been attacked on the sofa and the floor while lying down.
She suffered a stab wound to her face, three to her chest and five to her back. There were also wounds to her hand and forearm as she vainly tried to fight off her attacker.
Miss Ayres was pronounced dead at the scene.
Police also found cord and a noose where King had apparently planned to hang himself but had passed out after drinking whiskey.
King, who had three previous convictions for violence, was arrested later that morning after telephoning his mother to say: "I'm sorry Mum, I've killed Becky. I shouldn't be alive. I should've hanged myself."
Questioned by detectives King told the officers: "I'm sorry for what I have done, sorry is not enough, I know that. Whatever they hand to me I will take it."
Neil Flewitt QC, mitigating, asked the judge to accept the defendant's remorse was genuine and that the couple were in a "tempestuous" relationship.
Mr Flewitt added: "There was a great deal of tension created around Riley's christening.
"It's obvious from the text messages that Rebecca wanted him to attend and he did not want to be there.
"There was a good deal of tension illustrated by those text messages, building up, over the days ahead of her death and coming to a head on the night of her death.
"He's committed a very severe and inexcusable attack on Rebecca Ayres."
Outside court senior investigating officer Duncan Thorpe of Greater Manchester Police, said: "Liam King's actions have left a three-year-old little boy without a mother, parents without a daughter and a family and group of friends without a young woman that lived life with a smile on her face and brought joy to those she knew.
"The police investigation revealed that Liam King was very controlling and abusive towards Rebecca.
"This is another terrible reminder of how important it is that the victims of domestic abuse, or their friends and family members if they suspect someone is a victim, should come forward and report it to the police."
Sacha Cooper, senior crown prosecutor for the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) in the North West said: "Liam King carried out a brutal attack with a knife on his partner of two years following an argument about whether he would be attending her son's christening a few days later.
"I would like to offer my condolences to Rebecca Ayres' family and friends, my thoughts are very much with them at this time.
"The CPS are dedicated to tackling domestic violence, which is a blight on our communities.
"We will continue to work with the police and other agencies to provide the best possible service to victims, and bring to justice those who commit such abhorrent offences."