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Fantasist Edward Tenniswood jailed for rape and murder of woman he found drunk outside nightclub

By Richard Vernalls

A middle-aged fantasist raped and murdered a drunk young woman in what a judge called a "crime of utter depravity" after luring her to his squalid home.

Friendless loner Edward Tenniswood will serve at least 30 years behind bars after killing India Chipchase.

A Birmingham Crown Court jury took just an hour and 45 minutes to convict him.

Tenniswood, branded a "predator" by police, promised to "get her home safe" after finding the 20-year-old drunk outside NB's nightspot in Northampton in the early hours of January 30.

He attacked her, leaving Ms Chipchase - ex-girlfriend of former New Zealand All Black Bruce Reihana's son, Evaan Reihana - with over 30 injuries.

After the killing, 52-year-old Tenniswood told a jury he "cuddled up" to her lifeless body in an upstairs bedroom of his Stanley Road home and then sat and drank in a hotel bar for 22 hours until police came to arrest him.

The court heard Tenniswood, who had no previous convictions, was caught by mobile phone signals linked to his handset and a police officer who recognised him from the nightclub's CCTV.

When officers smashed down his front door on January 31, they found Ms Chipchase, who had wanted to be a paramedic, lying dead on a mattress upstairs with a sheet across her.

In court, her attacker claimed sex was consensual and Ms Chipchase's death in his grim, rented terraced home had been down to his "over-eagerness" in bed.

But the jury swiftly rejected the account of a man described by his own lawyer as an "oddball", and who kept newspaper clippings of women.

Sentencing, the judge said: "This was a terrible crime. It was committed because the defendant was determined to satisfy his own sexual desires on an attractive and much younger woman."

In a statement read to court, Sue Chipchase said her daughter "lit up a room" adding: "Her death has left a huge void in all our lives and her siblings are quiet and subdued without her."

After sentencing, DCI Steve Woliter, of Northamptonshire Police, said: "My lasting hope is that India's family is able to take some solace in the fact that Tenniswood will not be able to prey on any other young woman."

Tenniswood was also handed a 12-year sentence for rape to be served concurrent to his life term.

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