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Jail for pensioner, who murdered wife in Herne Hill home, after marriage breakdown

A pensioner, who murdered his estranged wife in their Herne Hill home, was sentenced to fifteen years in jail today (Thursday January 24.)

David Thomas, 73, was convicted of murdering his wife Sheila Thomas, aged 69, on Tuesday after a two-week trial at the Old Bailey.

The court heard how Thomas insisted Mrs Thomas move out of their family home in Herne Hill’s Casino Avenue in June 2018 after their marriage broke down.

Jurors were told that when she had moved out, Thomas began to make enquiries about finding a gun – and told one relative that he had visited Nunhead cemetery to find a place to dispose of her body.

On the morning of the murder on July 24, Mrs Thomas had arranged to collect some of her belongings from the family home after being told that Mr Thomas would not be there.

However when she arrived, he confronted her, demanding to know where she was living.

He attacked her, inflicting fatal injuries with a knife and a piece of wood, the court heard.

Police were called to the house shortly before midday and found Mr Thomas downstairs, suffering from stab wounds to the stomach, which it later became apparent were self-inflicted.

Paramedics from London’s ambulance and air ambulance services were called but could not save Mrs Thomas’ life.

She was pronounced dead at the scene at 12.37pm.

Mr Thomas was arrested on suspicion of murder before being taken to hospital for his self-inflicted wounds.

After being discharged he was remanded in custody and charged with Mrs Thomas’ murder on July 31.

A post-mortem found the cause of her death to have been knife wounds.

Detective Chief Inspector John Massey, who led the investigation, said: “This is a particularly tragic set of circumstances.

“When the victim and the person responsible are husband and wife there are bound to be devastating effects for the immediate family and friends.

“I hope this verdict brings a sense of justice for Sheila and those affected, and will allow them to take the next steps in rebuilding their lives.”

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