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'A brutal, sustained, ferocious attack': killer of Cardiff Bay grandmother jailed

A woman who moved into a luxury Cardiff Bay flat was killed by her neighbour in what her son dubbed a "brutal and senseless" killing.

Christine James was killed by her neighbour hours before a family holiday Credit: Family photo/South Wales Police

Company director Christine James, 65, had her throat cut by Kris Wade, 37, hours before she was due to fly to Florida on a family holiday. Today he was sentenced to a minimum of 21 years.

'Brutal and senseless': Cardiff Bay killer Kris Wade has been jailed for 21 years Credit: South Wales Police

She was found after her pilot son raised the alarm when she failed to catch her British Airways flight to Florida.

Mrs James - the mother-in-law of former Wales rugby captain and current Scotland coach Jonathan Humphreys - was due to meet up with her family in Gatwick airport London to jet off.

Her body was found when officers called at her fourth-floor exclusive apartment in Cardiff Bay to find her body in a pool of blood.

Mrs James had started a new life just three months before her killing. She had parted from her husband Stuart after more than 30 years married to move into a waterside apartment in Century Wharf, Cardiff Bay, South Wales, and bought a new BMW.

But the 5ft 4in grandmother was killed by burly 6ft 1in Kris Wade who lived in the flat above hers in the block.

Her pilot son Jason described her killing as "brutal and senseless" after she had started a new life after leaving her £950,000 luxury home when her marriage split.

"It was a brutal attack in which a knife was used to inflict the injuries. He has never offered an account or explanation of why.

"Police found bondage items, including a strait jacket, black rope, handcuffs, ball gag, mask and incontinence pads in his bedroom.

The incident was sexually motivated although there is no evidence of a sexual assault."

– Prosecutor Paul Lewis QC

"What's certain is that it was a sustained and barbaric attack that may have taken place over several hours or even two days.

"Wade never stopped to think about the consequences, and even chose to live upstairs from her in the days after her murder. I pray every day that my mother was unconscious when he dealt that fatal blow with a knife and never saw it coming.

"To say our family feel pain on an hourly basis is an understatement.

"There's no sentence which will bring my mother back, and no sentence which will reflect the pain he inflicted on my mother and our family. "My children have taken the loss of their grandmother badly. We have all had to take counselling."

– Mrs James's son Jason

Cardiff Crown Court heard police were baffled by the killing and initially arrested her estranged husband. Mrs James had previously lodged a compliant against him with police.

But loner Wade was arrested after other neighbours in Dubrovnik House reported strange activity.

The court heard a neighbour had seen Wade through a door spyhole carrying two black bin bags. The neighbour decided to follow him down in the lift to the basement but then left when he heard sobbing.

"You targeted her as a potential victim of your sexual desires because you knew she lived alone.

"The intention was to engage in sexual actions with her but she must have rebuffed your advances.

"I believe you killed her with a knife you found in her home. It was a brutal, sustained and ferocious attack.

– Mr Justice Wyn Williams

Wade sat emotionless and unmoved as he was jailed.

“Christine James was the innocent victim of a brutal and devastating attack carried out by Kris Wade.

“Wade has shown no remorse for this callous and fatal assault. Neither has he offered any explanation for what he did.

– Janine Davies, District Crown Prosecutor, CPS Cymru