A man who killed his girlfriend by hitting her over the head with a sledgehammer has been jailed for life.
Fifty year-old James Augustus John D’Arcy was found guilty of murdering thirty-eight year old Hayley Dean at the bedsit they shared at Gainslea Court in Derby Road in Bournemouth in September 2016.
During proceedings at Winchester Crown Court the jury was told that a man had driven D’Arcy to Bournemouth police station at about 6.20pm on Friday 16th September last year, and told officers that D’Arcy had claimed that he had killed his partner by hitting her over the head with a sledgehammer. When he was arrested on suspicion of murder, D'Arcy told police: “I killed my girlfriend with a hammer. I smashed her head in.”
However in court, he had denied murder, and instead pleaded guilty to manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility. He claimed he could not recall killing Hayley Dean, because he was dependent on alcohol and the dependency impaired him.
During the trial in Winchester the prosecution claimed that D’Arcy had killed Hayley during an argument at their flat. He had told officers that he had slept with her body overnight.
A post-mortem examination found that Ms Dean had died as a result of severe blunt force impact head injuries.
The jury were told that D’Arcy had carried out a number of seemingly normal tasks after the death such as getting onto a bus, withdrawing cash, buying food from McDonalds and topping up his mobile phone, before he told anyone about Hayley’s death.
Evidence from the couple's neighbours was read in court. It said that they had heard screams and thuds coming from the flat on the evening of Thursday 15 September 2016. They described the couple's relationship as a 'turbulent' one.
D'Arcy was found guilty of murder and will have to spend a minimum of 20 years in prison before he can be considered to apply for parole.