An ‘evil monster’ who lay in wait before repeatedly stabbing a young mum to death in a jealous rage has been jailed for life.
The heartbroken sister of murdered Kimberley Deakin, Britanny, said killer Lewis Crofts made her ‘blood boil’ and that he had torn the family apart.
In an emotional statement she said: “Not only have I lost my sister, I have lost my best friend. She was taken not by natural causes, but by an evil monster.”
Crofts, 30, was jailed having repeatedly knifed Kimberley during a savage attack in Stoke-on-Trent as she screamed ‘You have got to help me. You need to get my kids’.
Neighbour Philip O’Neil was alerted to the commotion and bravely went to the address to rescue the 29-year-old’s baby, Stoke on Trent Live reports.
When asked by paramedics who had done it, Kimberley replied ‘My boyfriend’.
Stafford Crown Court heard she was rushed to the Royal Stoke University Hospital but went into cardiac arrest in the ambulance.
She was pronounced dead shortly after arrival at 6.04pm, nearly two hours after she was brutally attacked on November 6 last year.
Crofts had fled the scene in Kimberley’s car but was arrested on the A14 in Northamptonshire at 6.31pm after stopping to buy vodka at Stafford Services.
Crofts – who was one and a half times the legal limit for driving – told police: “I have done what I have done. It is as simple as that.”
He went on to plead guilty to murder last month just days before his trial was due to be held.
Sentencing him to life in prison with a minimum term of 16 years and nine months, Judge Kristina Montgomery said: “This was a very grave offence. You took the life of a much-loved mother.
“You did so in a brutal manner and left her seeking the help of neighbours whilst making good your escape.
“In the days leading up you suspected her infidelity. Your suspicions she was overseas with the father of her child were confirmed.
“You stabbed her in the jaw and twice in the torso. You killed her in what should have been the sanctuary of her own home.”
After the sentencing Kimberley’s mum and her partner, Davina Kirkland and Wayne Parker, said: “The day my baby girl was taken away from us was the hardest thing that we have ever had to face.
“We all miss her terribly and I hope that the justice served today will help her rest in peace.”
Kimberley’s dad and step-mum, John and Vicki Deakin, said: “Kim was my family’s rock. There will never be enough justice but we know she will be looking down at us all thinking ‘that’s my family and I’m proud of each and every one of them’.”
The court heard Crofts had become jealous as he suspected Kimberley had rekindled a relationship with her ex Matthew Bloor.
Prosecutor Ed Vickers QC said Crofts – originally from Bournemouth – had first contacted his victim after meeting married Mr Bloor on holiday in Turkey who disclosed he was having an affair with Kimberley.
By the end of September Kimberley told friends she was getting fed up with the arguments they were having.
In October he had started to make internet searches such as, ‘How to stop paranoia’, ‘bipolar disorder’, and ‘anxiety’.
A post mortem examination showed Kimberley had suffered a stab wound to the left cheek, 9cm cut through tissue top the neck.
There were nine significant other wounds.
Jeremy Wainwright QC, mitigating, said the defendant had no history of violent offending.
He said: “Having weeks of considering himself paranoid and upset he snapped. He lost control.
“There was not an intent formed in his mind to kill her. His reaction when he heard about her death bears that out.
“As soon as I saw him he said, ‘I want to plead guilty to murder’.
“These are his words: ‘I feel awful because I have taken someone’s life. I should never have done it.
“I know it has horrific consequences for her family.”
Members of Kimberley’s family told the court how Crofts had ‘ripped their lives apart’.
In a victim impact statement, her uncle Craig Deakin said: “Our lives changed forever. We grieve every day. We can’t sleep without having nightmares.”
He said the family are ‘heartbroken’ and ‘devastated’. He added: “We will always be that.”
Britanny Deakin, Kimberley’s sister, said: “I am not myself any more, not the bubbly girl I used to be. I do not smile as much now, why should I?
“Lewis Crofts makes my blood boil. He has torn my family apart.”
Speaking after the case on Tuesday, Senior Investigating Officer, Detective Inspector Cheryl Hannan, said: “Crofts’ actions took away Kimberley from a large, close, loving family and many friends.
“He has also taken away a doting mother from a young daughter which will have far reaching affects for many years to come.
“I hope today’s sentencing now gives some sense of justice and allows all that knew her to move forward with grieving for their loss.”