The most shocking and horrific court cases of 2020

There have been some truly horrific court cases in Derby this year.

It all began in the early hours of New Year’s Day with a double murder and ended with a jury taking just an hour to find a man who killed and chopped up his landlord guilty of murder.

Here, court reporter Martin Naylor rounds up some of the more disturbing stories he has covered in 2020.

The jealous husband and the bloodbath

Residents of Duffield woke on the first day of 2020 to the news there had been a double murder in the village.

Former school headmaster and father-of-three Rhys Hancock, enraged and jealous, plunged a knife more than 100 times into the body of his estranged wife and her new partner.

Helen Hancock and Martin Griffiths lay dead in her bedroom in New Zeaand Road. The scene was described by police and paramedics as “a bloodbath.”

Hancock then calmly phoned 999 himself and chillingly told the operator: “I have just murdered my wife in her bed. I have stabbed them and slit their throats. There is blood everywhere”.

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Hancock, 40, of Portland Street, Etwall, pleaded guilty to two counts of murder and was jailed for life.

Derby’s most senior judge, Nirmal Shant QC, told the killer it would be 31 years before he will be eligible for parole.

Sentencing Hancock in October, she told him: “It was a brutal attack. You inflicted on Helen Hancock 66 injuries, you inflicted on Mr Griffiths 37 injuries.

“It was a ferocious attack, they were in bed defenceless.”

Martin Griffiths and Helen Hancock have been remembered by friends and family
Martin Griffiths and Helen Hancock have been remembered by friends and family
(Image: Derby Telegraph/Derbyshire police)

The trio of killers

In February, three men who killed a football-loving former RAF man in a Derby park were jailed for a combined total of 53 years.

John Williams was jailed for life and told it would be a minimum of 25 years before he is eligible to apply for parole after a jury found him guilty of murdering Simon Jones.

His co-defendants Kirk Guy and Jacob Ali, both found guilty of manslaughter following a five-week trial, were sent to prison for 20 years and eight years respectively.

The trio, all of Chaddesden, planned to rob a friend of Mr Jones called Carl Calladine, of cocaine in Chaddesden Park on April 20, 2019.

But during the botched robbery, Williams plunged a fearsome-looking hunting knife into the legs of the dad-of-two who had gone along with Calladine on that evening.

The 57-year-old victim, a grandfather-of-five from Belper who ran his own debt recovery firm in the town, staggered to a nearby house and banged on the door for help.

Despite the best efforts of people at the scene and paramedics he was pronounced dead around an hour later.

Sentencing the trio, Mr Justice Robin Knowles QC said: “This is a case that has been driven on all sides sadly by drugs and has led to deception, dishonesty, fear, violence and death.

“There is nothing to admire and everything to regret. Mr Guy was the leader and made the plan. Mr Williams was recruited to carry out the robbery.

“And Mr Ali was the driver who knew a knife was to be taken to the scene.”

Guy, 35, of Haydn Road, Williams, 25, of Waterford Drive, and Ali, 21, of Ashworth Avenue, had denied the charges.

Boxing legend Tyson Fury with Simon Jones
Boxing legend Tyson Fury with Simon Jones
(Image: CHRIS NEILL/MAVERICK PHOTOGRAPHY)

The gruesome butcher of Chesterfield.

Daniel Walsh always admitted he had chopped up the body of his landlord Graham Snell and scattered its parts around Chesterfield.

But he denied being the person who actually murdered him.

The 30-year-old shoved his poor victim’s limbs and head in a badger sett with parts of the pensioner remaining missing for months.

In a victim impact statement, a niece of 71-year-old Mr Snell, said: “The fact that he was dismembered in such way absolutely disgusts me.

“Graham had his life cut short in the cruellest of ways and even now before I go to sleep I worry what he suffered and what he went through.

“Graham was a lovely proud and brave man who kept himself to himself and I never heard him say a bad word about anyone.”

The killing took place in July 2019, in Marsden Street, Chesterfield.

Walsh’s first trial had to be halted earlier this years due to the coronavirus pandemic.

But the jury at his second trial at Derby Crown Court took just an hour to find him guilty of murder.

Yet that is still not the end of the matter as on the day he was due to be sentenced, Walsh sensationally sacked his entire legal team.

But he will finally be sentenced on January 4, the first day Derby Crown Court sots following the Christmas and new year break.

Derbyshire police vehicles
Daniel Walsh killed and dismembered Graham Snell
(Image: Zena Hawley)

One stab and he was dead

Craig Morse died at the hands of his girlfriend Tonia Crabtree at her Langley Mill flat on April 3.

The 33-year-old dad-of-four suffered a single stab wound during what Derby Crown Court heard was a drunken argument in the early hours of the morning.

Crabtree, 29, denied she meant to kill him, but admitted being the one who caused his death entering a guilty plea to a lesser charge of manslaughter.

The court was told how after drinking heavily into the early hours of April 2, the couple began arguing and she grabbed a knife from a block in the kitchen of her Frost Avenue property.

Knowing she had a history of self-harming Mr Morse tried to wrestle it from her and it was then she stabbed him once in the chest, the blade of the weapon puncturing his heart.

After being sentenced to four years and nine months, the victim’s father Dillwyn Morse said: “I have had to tell my four little grandchildren that ‘daddy’s been hurt so badly that he won’t be coming home’.

“She’s pure evil. My hatred for her is all-consuming. It’s cut the heart out of our family.

“Our souls have been destroyed. I don’t know how I’m going to pick up the shattered pieces of my family. We have been let down immensely. It’s unforgivable.”

Tonia Crabtree stabbed her partner Craig Morse through the heart
Tonia Crabtree stabbed her partner Craig Morse through the heart
(Image: Derbyshire Constabulary/Derby Telegraph)

The savage beatings in Manchester Street

A 47-year-old Derby woman killed a pensioner she subjected to “almost daily beatings” attacking him so hard that some of his rib bones became detached.

Magdalena Kissova wheedled her way into David Allsopp’s life and ended the 67-year-old’s life in the most horrific way imaginable.

His battered body was found inside his Manchester Street flat on February 15. It had 36 separate fresh injuries.

At her sentencing hearing in October tapes of his anguished screams of pain, recorded by concerned neighbours, was chillingly played to the courtroom.

In them, 47-year-old Kissova was heard bellowing at Mr Allsopp “get up, get up” before the victim could be heard crying out in pain.

A carer also described him cowering in her presence.

And even on the day she viciously stamped on, kicked and punched him to death, Kissova, of Manchester Street, calmly convinced Mr Allsopp’s loving twin sister he was “just asleep in bed”.

Jailing Kissova for life, with a minimum of 24 years, at Derby Crown Court, Judge Nirmal Shant QC said: “You brutally killed David Allsopp in February of this year and no sentence I pass can ease the pain his twin sister feels.

“I have read her victim impact statement and in it she says ‘now that David has gone it feels like a big part of me is also dead’.

“He was 67, he was vulnerable, he had dementia and after moving in with him, I am entirely satisfied that you began issuing almost daily beatings on him.

“We have heard recordings made by his neighbours of his harrowing screams And even when his sister came to see him on February 14 you told he he was asleep when in all likelihood he was either already dead or was dying in bed.

“You convinced her he was still alive and then you fled.

“You literally sought to get away with murder.”

Courtesy of Derbyshire Live – Derby News