Husband jailed for life for killing estranged wife and disability rights campaigner in Eastbourne

Raymond Hoadley (left) and Jackie Hoadley (right)

A man has been jailed for life, with a minimum term of 26 years, for killing his estranged wife, who was a well-known disability rights campaigner, at her home in Eastbourne.Raymond Hoadley, who is 62, was found guilty on 22 January at Hove Crown Court of stabbing 58-year-old Jacqueline Hoadley at the property in Broad Oak Close in the summer of 2020.

Jacqueline, who was known as Jackie, was discovered on July 5 2020.

Evidence showed she tried to fight off her husband.

He appeared for sentencing at Lewes Crown Court on Monday (February 22).

Prosecutor Caroline Carberry QC told the court that Hoadley had "had murder on his mind for some time" and was motivated in part by financial gain.

"The defendant was fixated on money, both historically and in the weeks and days leading up to the killing," she said.

"He expressed to a number of people the view that Jackie had everything and he had nothing."

58-year-old Jacqueline Hoadley was attacked at the property in Broad Oak Close in the summer of 2020. Credit: ITV News Meridian

The pair had adopted two severely disabled children who required round-the-clock care. 

Their son was being looked after at school when Jackie Hoadley was attacked and their daughter was in the room next door.

In 2009 the family were given an ‘Outstanding Family of the Year’ award for supporting children with life-limiting illnesses.

Raymond Hoadley had moved out of the home in April 2020 after trying to take his own life.

His mental health had deteriorated. 

Judge Jeremy Gold QC said the murder was "brutal and premeditated".

He told Hoadley: "There was clear evidence before the jury of your obsession with money and, just a few days before you killed Jackie, you persuaded her to sign a document which would ensure you would benefit financially to a very significant extent in the event of her death.

"Jacqueline Hoadley was a very special person. She dedicated her life to improving the lives of disabled children in general. Society has lost a truly good person who will not be forgotten by those who loved her or those who benefited either directly or indirectly from her campaigning on their behalf."

'Motivated by money'

The trial at Hove Crown Court heard how Mr Hoadley was obsessed by money and that he’d started shoplifting because he ‘couldn’t bare the prices in the shop’.

After their relationship broke down Raymond Hoadley had drawn up a divorce contract with Jackie in which the £300,000 house would be left to her while he would be able to claim their £1 million of savings.

He was worried that his wife might meet somebody else and transfer money from a joint account that he didn’t have access to.

A footprint was found on a wheelie bin which he used to scale over a fence.

'Placed at the scene of the crime'

On the night of Jackie Hoadley's death, a footprint was found on a wheelie bin which he used to scale over a fence at the property.

Jackie Hoadley’s blood was later found on Raymond Hoadley’s trainers and his DNA was also found near a door handle at the property.

Jackie Hoadley’s blood was later found Raymond Hoadley’s trainers.

CCTV footage showed Mr Hoadley’s van - the only vehicle of its type in Eastbourne - nearby the house.

It was then driven to the seafront where a figure could be seen leaving the vehicle and walking towards the beach.

A pair of scissors, was later discovered by a fisherman, but no forensic evidence was found on them.

The jury were told by an expert they may have caused some of Jackie’s Hoadley’s less severe injuries but not the fatal stab wounds.

Mr Hoadley left several telephone messages on his wife’s phone to try and cover his tracks.

He was arrested on July 6.

'A wonderful campaigner’

Following the guilty verdict in January, Together for Short Lives, a charity for children with life-limiting conditions which Jackie was involved with, paid tribute to her.

A spokesperson said: "Many of the Together for Short Lives’ team had the privilege to know and work with Jackie over many years. Jackie was a wonderful campaigner and advocate for seriously ill and disabled children and families, with a passion to ensure children and young people have a good life and a good end of life. Jackie supported many campaigns, including our Children’s Hospice Week campaign and spearheading a petition to greatly improve public changing places for families caring for disabled children, lobbying for dignified spaces with hoists and changing tables.

"Vitally Jackie was committed to supporting other parents like hers, by sharing her experiences and shaping resources to help families get the best care. Jackie’s support and commitment made a tremendous difference to other families and we want to commemorate and applaud Jackie for her tireless dedication."

Senior Investigating Officer, Detective Chief Inspector Andy Wolstenholme from the Major Crime Team said: “We welcome the jury’s conviction of Raymond Hoadley for murdering his estranged wife Jacqueline Hoadley in a brutal and calculated attack.

"Hoadley has consistently denied his involvement, even in the wake of overwhelming evidence. He believed that he had planned his crime with sufficient depth, hiding his lies within elements of truth with enough plausibility to conceal his guilt. But he hadn’t, the Major Crime Team always saw through his lies and conducted a meticulous investigation including hours of CCTV and large volumes of forensic evidence through which we were able to prove conclusively, that Hoadley was Jacqueline’s killer."

Hoadley was jailed for life with a minimum term of 26 years, less the 233 days he has spent on remand.