A murderer who recruited his mother to help cover his tracks after strangling, smothering and stabbing his partner has been jailed for life with a minimum term of 25 years.
Ian Bennett’s mother, Lynda, was jailed for three years after being convicted of helping him to dispose of murder weapons and driving him to a staged visit to “discover” the body of Kerry Woolley.
Bennett, 38, was convicted of murder after a trial at Birmingham Crown Court, while his 63-year-old mother was convicted of assisting an offender and perverting the course of justice.
The three-week trial was told Ian Bennett deliberately stabbed his partner in the neck, inflicting 55 wounds, before he was caught on his own mother’s dashcam footage dumping evidence into a waterway.
Ms Woolley, a 38-year-old mother of two young children, was found dead with “catastrophic” injuries in the bedroom of her flat off Warwick Road in Solihull, West Midlands, on July 12 last year.
Birmingham Crown Court was told “jealous and possessive” Bennett had formed a relationship with her weeks earlier, and had researched the “best way to get revenge on a woman” before the alleged killing.
After the killing, he made a visit to the murder scene, dialling 999 as part of a pre-planned web of deceit and telling officers he did not want to touch anything because “it’s obviously a crime scene”.
Passing sentence, Judge Melbourne Inman QC said neither of the Bennetts, both of Moordown Avenue, Solihull, had shown any remorse.
Describing the murder as a savage offence, the judge told Ian Bennett: “Having killed her, you set about in a calm and calculated manner to get away with it.
“You then went home and enlisted the help of your mother Lynda Bennett in driving to various places to dispose of items.
“You threw one knife into the river. At least one other knife has never been found.
“Lynda Bennett then drove you to Kerry’s flat in the afternoon where you continued the deception by staging the appearance that you had found her dead.
“You then appeared to the 999 operator and indeed to Kerry’s sister to be extremely distressed at having found her dead. You believed your plan would succeed.”
The judge added: “You are an extremely dangerous man. An experienced pathologist said in his evidence that it was one of the most horrific murders he had seen.
“Having killed her, you had a calculated plan as to how you were going to get away with it. You had but hours before expressed satisfaction that Kerry was terrified.
“In the absence of any explanation whatsoever from you, I am quite sure that there was a degree of premeditation in your decision to kill her that night.”
The judge said Bennett had “brought his mother into the dock” during his efforts to avoid justice. He told Lynda Bennett: “Your actions were taken in the middle of the night, the following morning… then taking Ian Bennett to the flat for him to stage his apparent discovery of the body, and then lying to the police in order to conceal the truth.
“It was mere good fortune that your car had CCTV which revealed what you had done. It is clear that you have no remorse whatsoever.”