Woman jailed for life for 'tragic and senseless murder' of Sheffield mother Pearl Simone Hancock

Taylor will serve a minimum of 18 years in prison. Credit: South Yorkshire Police

A Sheffield woman has today (22 January) been jailed for life for stabbing and killing her neighbour in July last year.

Kerry Taylor, 41, formally of Ravenscroft Place, Sheffield was charged with murdering Pearl Simone Hancock (known to her family and friends as Simone). She was found guilty following a trial at Sheffield Crown Court and will serve a minimum of 18 years in prison.

At 10.31pm on Saturday 4 July, police were called to a block of flats on Ravenscroft Place in Sheffield to reports a woman had been stabbed.

Simone was treated for severe stab injuries while lying in a communal hallway and was taken to hospital where she died shortly after arriving.

Simone died shortly after arriving at hospital Credit: South Yorkshire Police

A post mortem examination found that she had multiple, significant stab injuries on her upper back and shoulders, a wound to her head and defensive wounds on her hands.Detective Chief Inspector Simon Palmer, the senior investigating officer for this inquiry, said:

Firstly, I would like to offer my condolences to Simone’s family and friends as the trial will undoubtedly have caused further distress and grief. Simone was a much-loved mother, grandmother, daughter, sister and auntie and my thoughts are with her loved ones.

Detective Chief Inspector Simon Palmer, South Yorkshire Police

Simone’s family has released the following statement:

The tragic and senseless murder of Simone, our daughter, mum, grandma, sister and auntie has had a devastating impact on us all as a family.  "Our Mum will never recover from the loss of her beloved daughter and her death has had a massive impact on her already deteriorating health.  

Family statement

The statement continues: "No one deserves to be taken in this way and we feel we could have accepted it a little better if she had not been so cruelly taken from us at such a young age. No parent should have to plan their child’s funeral following their murder.

"As a family, we would like to thank South Yorkshire Police for the professionalism and caring way in which they handled the case and special thanks to Claire Mann the police liaison officer.

"Now the trial is over, and sentence has been passed, we as a family would like to request our privacy as we try to move forward and come to terms with our loss.

"Rest in eternal peace Simone, we love you x"

According to the police, Taylor was quickly identified as a key suspect in the early stages of the investigation, as DCI Palmer explains: "One of Simone’s neighbours heard a disturbance, opened their door and found Simone bleeding heavily. She stated she had been stabbed by Kerry. Other neighbours also reported hearing Simone shouting she had been stabbed by Kerry when we spoke with them.

"At around 11.05pm, a member of the public on Noehill Place in Sheffield called police to say a woman – Taylor – was walking along the street, bleeding from her hand. She told the member of the public she had stabbed someone and ran away. Officers went to the area and carried out a search, finding discarded items of clothing.

"About 30 minutes later, we got further calls from the public reporting a woman walking down Sheffield Parkway covered in blood. Our officers again went to the area and searched for her, finally finding Taylor on Manor Lane.

"Taylor refused to accept responsibility for her crimes and therefore Simone’s family has had to hear traumatic and upsetting details about their loved one’s final moments. Such was the weight of evidence placed before the court, the jury have convicted Taylor of murder and she is now starting a life sentence."