Teenager murdered girlfriend after she dumped him, then went back to school
Thomas Griffiths placed Ellie’s hand on a knife in her neck before leaving her dead on the floor of her family’s kitchen.
A schoolboy stabbed his former girlfriend to death then placed her hand on the knife in her neck to make it look as though she had killed herself, a court has heard.
Thomas Griffiths, now 18, stabbed Ellie Gould to death at her home in Calne in Wiltshire on May 3 after she ended their relationship.
He left the 17-year-old lying in a pool of blood on the kitchen floor, where her father discovered her four hours later.
After the murder, Griffiths returned to school and sought support from a matron as well as sending messages to Ellie’s friends to say he could not get hold of her.
Mr Justice Garnham will sentence Griffiths, who wept as the case was opened on Friday morning, at Bristol Crown Court.
Earlier that same day, Ellie had told her friends that she felt suffocated by Griffith's attentions Richard Smith QC
Ellie’s family and friends packed the public galleries of court room one, with a video link set up in court room four for others to watch the proceedings.
Opening the case for the first time, Richard Smith QC said Ellie and Griffiths, of Derry Hill, Wiltshire had been in a relationship since January 2019.
“However, in a message sent to friends on social media at 6pm on May 2, Ellie announced that she had split from this defendant and that he had not taken the separation well,” Mr Smith said.
“Earlier that same day, Ellie had told her friends that she felt suffocated by Griffith’s attentions.”
Mr Smith said Griffiths had been driven to school on the morning of May 3 by his mother but he had “no intention” of going.
He took a bus home before driving to Ellie’s family home, arriving there at 10.58am and leaving at 11.51am.
“Griffiths became angry, perhaps by Ellie’s continued rejection of him and he attacked her,” Mr Smith said.
“A post-mortem examination indicated that Ellie was first incapacitated by pressure having been applied to her neck.
“Thereafter, multiple knife wounds were inflicted. There are at least 13 wounds inflicted, with the knife focused mainly around the area of the left neck.
“The knife that was used to kill Ellie was one that was taken from the family kitchen.”
Mr Smith said Griffiths had attempted to clean up the murder scene with cloths he later hid in a wood near his home.
Blood-staining on an apron suggests Griffiths wiped the knife before placing it back in Ellie’s neck.
“The defendant must have placed his victim’s own hand on the handle of the knife,” Mr Smith said.
“No doubt to make it look as though she, Ellie, had inflicted the wounds on herself.”
At 11.45am, a text was sent from Ellie’s phone telling a friend that she was not going to school that day.
The image of Ellie lying there on the floor has haunted me ever since that afternoon. It fills my thoughts when trying to sleep and hijacks my mind when trying to go about my day Matthew Gould, the victim's father
After the murder, Griffiths drove home and told a neighbour he had self-harmed, with deep scratches to his neck.
“In truth, the injuries to the defendant’s neck and to his hand were nothing to do with self-infliction but very much more likely the product of his young victim having fought for her life as she was attacked,” Mr Smith said.
Griffiths later asked his neighbour to drive him to school, where he spoke to the matron and sent messages to Ellie’s phone.
He was collected from school from his mother, who later took him to a friend’s house in Chippenham.
At 3pm, Ellie’s father Matthew Gould returned home to find his daughter lying “face down in a pool of blood, with the knife in her neck,” Mr Smith said.
In a victim personal statement, Mr Gould said: “The image of Ellie lying there on the floor has haunted me ever since that afternoon.
“It fills my thoughts when trying to sleep and hijacks my mind when trying to go about my day.”
Griffiths was arrested outside his friend’s home at 6pm and “lied repeatedly” to police, Mr Smith told the court.
Mr Smith also summarised a victim personal statement from Carole Gould.
“She had welcomed the defendant into their house, sat him around the dinner table, celebrated a 17th birthday with him and less than three months later saw that he had murdered their daughter,” he said.
Sasha Wass QC, representing Griffiths, said he was an exceptional student who had been made a prefect shortly before the murder.
He swam at county and international level, and played rugby at county level for Chippenham Rugby Club, she said.
Ms Wass read a letter written to the court by Griffiths, in which he apologised for his actions.
He wrote: “I have truly let myself down and I hope one day I will be able to explain to myself and others why this happened.”