Skydiving instructor guilty of murdering partner in Messingham after argument

Ashley Kemp/Clair Armstrong
Ashley Kemp admitted manslaughter but denied murdering Clair Armstrong. Credit: Humberside Police

A man who strangled his partner after she confronted him about an alleged sex assault on a teenager has been convicted of her murder.

Skydiving instructor Ashley Kemp, 55, attacked 50-year-old Clair Armstrong at her home in Messingham, North Lincolnshire, after she told him their relationship was over, Grimsby Crown Court heard.

He fled after killing her but rang 999 and told a call handler: "I have killed my girlfriend. We got into a fight, and I ended up strangling her."

He then crashed his car into a tree.

Ms Armstrong was discovered dead under a duvet on a bed at her home.

Clair Armstrong died at her home in Messingham. Credit: MEN Media

After being arrested Kemp, of Robinson Grove, Hibaldstow, admitted headbutting his partner before strangling her to stop her talking. He said he had been overcome by a "red mist".

In court he pleaded guilty manslaughter but denied murder.

During a five-day trial jurors heard Kemp lost his temper and attacked Ms Armstrong after an argument over a claim he had sexually assaulted a teenage girl.

The jury took less than four hours to return a guilty verdict.

Speaking after the verdict senior investigating officer Det Ch Insp Simon Vickers, of Humberside Police, said: "The unforgiveable and thoughtless actions of Ashley Kemp cost Clair her life and robbed her family of their loving mum, sister and friend. 

"Clair’s family have shown great unity, dignity, and strength throughout what I can only imagine to be a period of devastating adversity."

In a statement, Ms Armstrong's family said: "The day we lost Clair is the day our lives changed forever, we never imagined we would be in this position, but the support of the amazing group of people around us has helped in securing justice for Clair."

“We would like to thank our Family Liaison Officer who’s shown nothing but care and compassion whilst guiding us through this horrendous experience.

Kemp will be sentenced on Wednesday 3 May.


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