Tuesday, 20 Oct 2020

Headteacher who murdered estranged wife and her lover jailed for life

A man has been jailed for life to serve a minimum of 31 years for murdering his estranged wife and her new lover by stabbing them to death on New Year’s Day.

Former headteacher Rhys Hancock, 40, killed Helen Hancock, 39, and Martin Griffiths, 48, at the former marital home in Duffield, Derbyshire.

He then called police to say: ‘I’ve just murdered my wife in her bed.’

Helen, a PE teacher, and father-of-two Martin were discovered with multiple stab wounds at the detached property after police were first called at 4.11am.

When paramedics arrived Martin had already died but they spent 15 minutes trying to resuscitate Helen before she too died from her injuries.

Derby Crown Court heard that Hancock was found outside the home in a blood-stained shirt just after the murders, telling a police officer: ‘I’m hardly going to deny it; look at me.’

He pleaded guilty to two counts of murder at a previous hearing on July 6.

Sentencing Hancock on Thursday, Judge Nirmal Shant QC told the court that Helen had significant injuries as a result of the ‘brutal and extensive’ attack. She added that she ‘could not be sure’ if they were as a result of ‘sadistic or sexual conduct’.

Ahead of the sentencing, prosecutor Michael Auty QC told Derby Crown Court about a phone call made by the killer’s mother to police at 4.11am on New Year’s Day, in which she said: ‘Please you need to go.

‘She has been with another man. My son found out on Friday night.

‘He now has two knives and is on his way there. He is in his car. His name is Rhys Hancock. I saw him take the knives.’

Judge Shant told Hancock: ‘This was substantially pre-meditated and pre-planned.

‘You had settled on your intent to kill them both before you left your mother’s house.’

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