'Jealous' partner killed estranged wife in Kettering room and then went out to buy beer

Pawel Chmielecki.
Pawel Chmielecki went to a shop to buy beer after he'd killed Marta Chmielecka. Credit: Northamptonshire Police

A "jealous" man who killed his estranged wife, and then went out to buy cans of beer as her body lay in his room, has been jailed for life.

Pawel Chmielecki, 40, stabbed 31-year-old Marta Chmielecka more than 30 times, including 19 wounds to her face and neck, in a "ferocious fatal attack" in October 2021.

He then stayed in his rented room in Kettering, Northamptonshire, with her body for four days, only briefly leaving to buy cans of beer and a soft drink from a local shop.

When police forced their way into Chmielecki's property, they found him with a knife protruding from his neck as he attempted to take his own life.

The Polish national was taken to hospital, and after he recovered from his injuries, he was charged with murder.

Marta Chmielecka was described by her family as being "full of life." Credit: Family photo/Northamptonshire Police

Sentencing Chmielecki at Northampton Crown Court, His Honour Judge David Herbert said it was clear Ms Chmielecka was "scared" of him, with Chmielecki having a history of violence towards her since their relationship ended.

“Those last moments of her life would have been utterly terrifying, as you stabbed her repeatedly in the neck. You accept you intended to kill her and must then have watched her die lying in a pool of her own blood," the judge told him.

Police said they were made aware of concerns for Ms Chmielecka's safety by a family member who had received a text message from the victim's phone which did not appear to be in her usual style.

CCTV footage shows Pawel Chmielecki leading his enstranged wife to her death (Warning: Distresssing images)

CCTV footage showed Chmielecki leaving home on the evening of 15 October and "intercepting" his wife as she walked nearby after she had enjoyed a night out with friends.

A struggle between them then followed, with the footage appearing to show Ms Chmielecka coughing and unsteady on her feet after Chmielecki had held her in what police described as a "bear-hug".

Speaking after Wednesday's sentencing, Det Supt Joe Banfield, who led the inquiry for Northamptonshire Police, said that Chmielecki had refused to acknowledge that his marriage was over after Ms Chmielecka had started dating a work colleague.

"Pawel Chmielecki did not want to accept the end of his relationship with Marta, and remained in contact with her despite her attempts to distance herself from him," Det Supt Banfield said.

“For the sake of her loving family, who remain devastated by her death, I am glad Chmielecki now accepts his guilt on this as well, and I’m pleased to see him receive this significant prison term."

Ms Chmielecka's family said life is "never going to be the same without her". Credit: Family photo/Northamptonshire Police

Ms Chmielecka and her husband had moved to Kettering from Poland in 2017, and separated three years later.

After the couple split up, Ms Chmielecka decided to stay in the town and had a wide circle of friends.

Paying tribute to her, Ms Chmielecka's family said that she was an "exceptional" person who was "full of life."

They also revealed her father had started stuttering after her death and now struggled to communicate.

“Marta had so many plans and dreams. She was independent and confident. We all loved her so much," the statement read.

“It is never going to be the same without her. Losing Marta has changed our whole lives.

“When Marta died, something beyond her died as well and none of us will ever be the same.”

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