Man murdered wife at Lincoln flat then dumped dismembered body in River Witham

Nicholas Metson/Holly Bramley
Nicholas Metson initially denied the murder of Holly Bramley. Credit: Lincolnshire Police

A man murdered his wife before cutting up her body and paying a friend £50 to help dispose of her remains, a court has heard.Nicholas Metson, now 28, stabbed 26-year-old Holly Bramley to death at their flat in Shuttleworth House, Lincoln, in March last year.

Metson and his friend Joshua Hancock, 28, then dumped her remains in the River Witham in the village of Bassingham about 10 miles away.

Some of her body parts have yet to be found, Lincoln Crown Court heard.

The court was told police were called to the couple's flat on 24 March last year after concerns were raised for Ms Bramley's safety.

Officers visited the following day but got no response on the first two occasions they knocked at the door.

When Metson answered after their third attempt, he claimed not to know where his wife was and said she had suffered mental health problems, self-harmed and subjected him to domestic abuse.

An initial search of the flat revealed a strong smell of ammonia, blood-stained sheets and a saw.

Prosecutor Gordon Aspden said when officers returned the items had been moved.

"The flat was searched but there was absolutely no sign of Holly," he said.

"At one point Mr Metson joked she might be hiding under the bed."

Holly Bramley and Nicholas Metson married in 2021. Credit: Facebook

On 25 March a member of the public noticed a number of shopping bags floating in the River Witham and examined one of the bags.

"At this point he made a grim discovery," Mr Aspden told the court.

"At first he could not believe what he had seen. He was looking at a severed hand."

Police divers recovered 224 remains of Ms Bramley's body from the bags but parts of her heart, lungs and fingers were still missing, the court heard.

It took a pathologist over 13 hours to examine all of her remains and the body was so badly damaged they were unable to establish the exact cause of death. However, she had suffered several stab wounds.

Police later seized a set of garden pruners, two knives and a claw hammer from Metson's flat.

"In short, after murdering Holly he destroyed her," Mr Aspden said.

After Killing his wife, Metson withdrew £50 from Ms Bramley's bank account and also made a number of suspicious internet searches, including "what benefits do I get if my wife has died?" and "can someone haunt me after they die?"

Police were called to Shuttleworth House because of concerns for Holly Bramley's safety. Credit: MEN Media

CCTV footage recovered by police showed Metson moving bags from his flat.

"They were carried by hand and also using a Morrisons shopping trolley, and then conveyed to his yellow Peugeot car," Mr Aspden said.

"The most likely scenario is that Mr Metson murdererd Holly in the bedroom, dismembered her body in the bath, and then stored her body in the kitchen larder, before bagging her remains up."

Evidence from Metson's mobile phone showed he had offered Hancock money for a job during the early hours of 25 March.

The next day a message on Hancock's phone said: "Just got £50 for disposing of a body."

The court Metson and Ms Bramley had been together since 2016 and married in 2021. Both had attended a support group for people with special needs.

Mr Aspden said: "Mobile phone messages in the days leading up to the murder indicate that by the start of 2023 the marriage had broken down irretrievably and they were on the verge of separating."

In a statement Ms Bramley's mother Annette Bramley described Metson as an "evil monster".

She told him he had subjected her family "to a life sentence of grief."

"The heinous way in which she was murdered and dismembered has left us in such unimaginable pain," Mrs Bramley told the court.

She said Metson's controlling and coercive behaviour had left the family unable to see her dughter in the years before her death.

Metson had previously denied Ms Bramley's murder but changed his plea last month.

He admitted conspiracy to pervert the course of justice by disposing of Ms Bramley's body.

Hancock, of Walnut Close, Waddington, pleaded guilty to obstructing a coroner.

Both are due to be sentenced on Monday.

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