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Man jailed for life for murdering wife and stepdaughter in frenzied knife attack

Laura Mortimer and Ella Dalby were murdered by Christopher Boon. Credit: Gloucestershire Constabulary

An 11-year-old girl was murdered by her stepfather after she "bravely came to the help of her mother" who was being stabbed to death in "a sustained and brutal episode of violence" at their home, a court heard.

Christopher Boon, 28, pleaded guilty at Bristol Crown Court to killing Laura Mortimer and Ella Dalby at a house in Dexter Way, Gloucester, on May 28.

Describing the murders as "unspeakable savagery", the judge sentenced him to life in prison with a minimum of 29 years.

Mrs Justice May told Boon: "On the evening of May 27 this year, you murdered your wife Laura Boon and your 11-year-old stepdaughter Ella Dalby in an act of selfish rage and cruelty.

"Your wanton savagery has blighted the lives of many forever."

The families of Ms Mortimer and Ella, who packed the public galleries of court room two, loudly applauded after the sentence was passed

Richard Smith QC, prosecuting, told the court Ms Mortimer, 31, had "clearly fought for her life" and her daughter Ella witnessed at least part of the attack before being killed as she "bravely came to the help of her mother".

"Their bodies were subsequently found in the kitchen floor," Mr Smith said. "Mother laying side by side with daughter in significant pools of blood."

Mr Smith said police officers attending the scene described it as "horrendous".

"It is clear that it was a sustained and brutal episode of violence in which Laura and Ella suffered multiple stab wounds about their faces and necks," he told the court.

Christopher Boon murdered his wife and stepdaughter. Credit: Gloucestershire Constabulary

Ms Mortimer suffered blunt force injuries to her head and arms, consistent with a struggle.

"Laura had multiple defence injuries to both of her hands," Mr Smith said.

"She has clearly fought for her life, seeking to fend off and perhaps grasp back the knife that was being used to kill her."

Ms Mortimer had 18 separate stab wounds, while her daughter suffered 24. Both died "rapidly" from their injuries, the court heard.

Mr Smith said it appeared Ella had gone to the aid of her mother after hearing her downstairs with Boon.

"Having heard matters dramatically unfold in the kitchen, Ella got out of her bed and bravely came to the help of her mother," Mr Smith said.

"Eleven-year-old Ella must have witnessed, in part at least, the murderous attack on her mother before Boon also attacked his stepdaughter."

After the attack, Boon left the property and phoned his mother to tell her what he had done.

His mother's partner called 999 after arriving at the scene and officers from Gloucestershire Police attended within 10 minutes.

The court heard Ms Mortimer and Boon had been married for about five years and he was stepfather to Ella.

In early 2018, Boon had an affair and Ms Mortimer told him she wanted a divorce in May.

"On May 27, Laura went out for the evening," Mr Smith said.

"She told friends who were there that she had asked Christopher Boon to leave within two weeks.

"Laura said her husband wasn't happy at being told he had to leave." Boon previously denied the charges against him but entered guilty pleas at a hearing on Monday.

Tributes were left to the victims following the murder. Credit: PA

Ms Mortimer ran her own business, Sweet Beginnings, offering bespoke bridal gowns and wedding planning services.

Ella was a student at Barnwood Park Arts College, where she had a passion for dance.