Sarah Henshaw trial: Man found guilty of murdering ex-partner and dumping body in lay-by

Credit: Derbyshire Police

A man has been found guilty of murdering his former partner and dumping her body by a lay-by near the M1 motorway.

Darren Hall was accused of killing 31-year-old Sarah Henshaw and leaving her body in woodland near a lay-by on the westbound A617 near Chesterfield, Derbyshire, on June 20 this year.

On June 26 Ms Henshaw’s body was found after she was last seen alive six days previously near her home in Norman Street in Ilkeston.

During the trial at Derby Crown Court, 36-year-old Hall claimed that Ms Henshaw fell down the stairs.

He then said he "just panicked" and admitted moving her body to the woodland, 20 miles away from their home in Ilkeston, Derbyshire.

Prosecutors told the trial that Hall "callously dumped" Ms Henshaw’s body after fatally attacking her during an argument.

Though the Crown admitted in its opening that it could not say how Ms Henshaw died, bruising found on her neck.

Prosecutor Michelle Heeley KC said the bruising was "about the width of a dressing gown cord."

After disposing of her body, Hall was seen getting rid of Ms Henshaw's belongings, including her dressing gown and slippers, at a recycling centre and in a skip.

In his defence, Hall said Ms Henshaw fell down the stairs during the argument - but he moved her body and disposed of her possessions to reinforce a lie that she had voluntarily gone missing.

The carpet fitter, of Rodney Way, Ilkeston, said he was "not thinking right" in the aftermath of Ms Henshaw’s death.

He said there was "no real, reasonable reason" as to why he moved her body and left it near the lay-by, and later lied to police, family and friends about where Ms Henshaw was.

Following the verdict, DI Maria Pleace, who led the investigation for Derbyshire Constabulary, said: “Darren Hall is a manipulative, deceiving and dangerous individual.

“Thankfully the jury saw through his lies and have rightly found him guilty.

“Today, as they have been throughout this case, my thoughts are with Sarah’s family and friends.

“They have lost a much-loved niece, daughter, sister, mother and friend in the most heart-breaking circumstances and I hope that this verdict provides them with the justice they, and Sarah, deserve.

“I want to thank them for their steadfastness over the past months and for the support they have provided to the investigation team – a team that have worked tirelessly to build a case that led the jury to today’s verdict.”

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