A violent ex-partner who fatally stabbed a mother and her young autistic son in front of a distressed baby before leading police on a 24-hour manhunt has been convicted of their murders.
Daniel Boulton travelled 28 miles on foot from Skegness to Louth, Lincolnshire, in order to kill his former girlfriend Bethany Vincent and her nine-year-old son Darren Henson at around 8pm on May 31 last year.
Lincoln Crown Court was told Boulton, who was the subject of a restraining order following a complaint by Ms Vincent, developed a “hatred” for Darren and “loitered for hours” outside their home at 182 High Holme Road before the killings.
A nine-month-old child was seen crawling around the house when emergency services arrived at the property, and the court heard the killer later left a note saying: “I, Daniel Boulton, take full responsibility for 182.”
Boulton tried to claim he was on “autopilot” at the time of the murders, but jurors dismissed his defence of loss of control.
The 30-year-old killer admitted manslaughter on the second day of his trial, as well as assault with intent to resist arrest, and burglary, but denied murder.
After the defendant was convicted of both murders on Tuesday, Mr Justice Pepperall told the prosecution and defence barristers: “I don’t see the need for any further reports in this case.
“My intention would be to pass sentence tomorrow, which will give me an opportunity for proper reflection and also for me to consider sentencing notes.”
Turning to Boulton, the judge said: “You have been convicted on this indictment of the brutal murders of Bethany Vincent and her nine-year-old son.
“There is one sentence in law that I can pass and that will be a sentence of life imprisonment on both counts.”
The jury heard how the relationship between Boulton and Ms Vincent, which had begun on the Tinder dating app, had “deteriorated” by the end of March 2019 and he was eventually ordered not to contact his ex-partner.
The prosecution said “persistent” Boulton had sent Ms Vincent nearly 900 messages over the bank holiday weekend, including one which said: “You destroyed my life and have the cheek to say I ruined yours.”
The killer had previously told a Salvation Army support worker that he wanted to “wipe out the bloodline” of Ms Vincent’s family.
Boulton led Lincolnshire Police on a manhunt until the following day, when he stabbed an off-duty police officer in the leg in the Hubbard’s Hills area of Louth before being tasered and arrested on a nearby farm.
Speaking about the relationship between Boulton and Ms Vincent in her opening speech to the jury, prosecutor Katherine Goddard QC said despite two restraining orders, he “continued to contact Bethany – by telephone, by text message, by social media messages, and by unannounced and uninvited visits to her home”.
She continued: “None of that contact was sought by Bethany and, in fact, only a few days after her and DJ were stabbed to death, they were due to move to a new house – to an address unknown to Mr Boulton.
“Social services became involved with Bethany and her family after her first complaint to the police of domestic violence in November 2020.
“Their concerns related only to the risk Mr Boulton presented to the family.
“He had, by then, expressed a hatred of Darren, a nine-year-old boy… who had been diagnosed with autism.”
Telling the jury what witnesses had seen of Boulton on the day of the murders, Ms Goddard said: “He was seen running from an alleyway leading to the back of number 182.
“He seemed flushed, agitated, and called out to the witnesses to call an ambulance as someone had been stabbed inside.
“He then casually walked away, not waiting for the emergency services to arrive.”
Thanking the jury for their service on the difficult and “extremely distressing” trial, the judge said after the verdicts: “You have with great calmness listened objectively to the evidence, the arguments and the legal directions.
“For that you have my very sincere thanks.
“The case you have had to deal with has had real horrors.
“I will direct that you each be written to and be formally excused from jury service for a period of five years.”
Boulton, of Alexandra Road, Skegness, will be sentenced at the same court on Wednesday.