A KILLER who beat his girlfriend to death with a baseball bat he named "Benny" after she visited her baby's grave has been jailed.
Colette Myers' injuries were so severe they were compared to a fall from a tall building or a pedestrian being hit by a car.
James Campbell, 33, claimed he had found his partner of ten years, 33, dead in their bed at home in Lemington, Newcastle.
He has now been jailed for life with a minimum of 18 years after he was convicted of murder.
It can now be revealed Campbell, who has 40 previous convictions, had a history of violence against Colette.
Mrs Justice Foster said she suffered "regular if not continuous violence and other reprehensible behaviour" at the hands of the brute.
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Sentencing, the judge added: "On numerous occasions she was harmed by you but she refused to complain, even when witnessed by others, more than one person gave evidence.
"She would not do so because she loved you."
Newcastle Crown Court heard the horror unfolded on April 20 last year after Colette had been to visit her nine-week-old daughter's grave.
She spent the day with a friend before returning home at around 10.30pm.
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Campbell then told a neighbour Colette was dead and the police and ambulance service raced to the scene.
He claimed he had found Colette cold on the bed with her arms above her head.
Campbell said they had both been drinking the night before and he couldn't recall the last time he saw her.
Chilling footage showed the moment he lied to police as he was arrested for Colette's murder.
Calmly rolling a cigarette, he told them: "I thought she was just like asleep, when I put my hand on her back I felt how cold she was.
"I feel more sick than anything else."
How you can get help
Women’s Aid has this advice for victims and their families:
- Always keep your phone nearby.
- Get in touch with charities for help, including the Women’s Aid live chat helpline and services such as SupportLine.
- If you are in danger, call 999.
- Familiarise yourself with the Silent Solution, reporting abuse without speaking down the phone, instead dialing “55”.
- Always keep some money on you, including change for a pay phone or bus fare.
- If you suspect your partner is about to attack you, try to go to a lower-risk area of the house – for example, where there is a way out and access to a telephone.
- Avoid the kitchen and garage, where there are likely to be knives or other weapons. Avoid rooms where you might become trapped, such as the bathroom, or where you might be shut into a cupboard or other small space.
If you are a victim of domestic abuse, SupportLine is open Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday from 6pm to 8pm on 01708 765200. The charity’s email support service is open weekdays and weekends during the crisis – [email protected].
Women’s Aid provides a live chat service – available weekdays from 8am-6pm and weekends 10am-6pm.
You can also call the freephone 24-hour National Domestic Abuse Helpline on 0808 2000 247.
But a post mortem showed Colette’s head injury had been caused by "direct blunt trauma".
She was hit so severely an artery in her neck and spine tore, leading to a bleed on the brain.
Her family said: "Colette was a much-loved sister, auntie, mother and friend. She was the life and soul of the party who would help anyone out, even if it meant she would go without.
"Colette had so much to live for, yet she was only 33 years old when she was brutally murdered by her live-in partner of ten years.
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"Colette was the victim of domestic abuse, and her death could have been prevented if she had sought help.
"If you are a victim of domestic abuse, you may be feeling isolated, ashamed and alone. Please know you are not alone, and you are not to blame. Above all you do not have to suffer in silence – Please seek help."
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