'Manipulative' serial killer-obsessed woman who murdered boyfriend in Havant handed life sentence

  • Watch the moment officers arrested Shaye Groves following the attack

A serial killer-obsessed woman who murdered her on-off boyfriend, after using tips she picked up from true crime documentaries to plan her alibi, has been sentenced to life in prison with a minimum term of 23 years.

Shaye Groves, 27, from Havant, was found guilty at Winchester Crown Court of slitting the throat of Frankie Fitzgerald, 25, before stabbing him more than 20 times in the chest in July last year after trying to portray herself as his victim.

Groves was a keen true crime documentary fan, had framed pictures of serial killers on her walls and collected books about gangsters, including notorious prisoner Charles Bronson.

During the five-week trial, the jury heard the pair shared a mutual interest in BDSM and a camera was set up in Groves' bedroom at her Hampshire home to record them having sex.

Shaye Groves has been jailed for a minimum of 23 years Credit: Hampshire and Isle of Wight Constabulary

Marie Watton, CPS Wessex Senior Crown Prosecutor, said: "Shaye Groves had a macabre fascination with serial killers and murder documentaries. She had pictures of serial killers on her walls, owned many gangster books, and watched murder documentaries.

"This meant that she was familiar with what to do and say to try and engineer a situation where she would look like a victim, which of course completely unravelled in the face of the evidence collected from key witnesses, mobile phones, call data and CCTV recordings.

"Groves stabbed her boyfriend in a jealous frenzy and then set about trying to cover for herself. Her actions were cold, callous and calculated. She spun a web of lies, and everything she did was an attempt to further manipulate the situation and detract from taking any responsibility for her crime.

"The details of this case will have been extremely distressing for Frankie’s family to have to endure, while they continue to grieve for the untimely loss of their loved-one.

"Our thoughts remain with his family today and we hope that they feel that a sense of justice has been delivered for Frankie."

Frankie Fitzgerald was found dead in Shaye Groves’s bed last July Credit: Hampshire Police/PA

Steven Perian KC, prosecuting, told the jury Groves acted out of jealousy on 17 July last year, after she discovered her victim had been messaging a 13-year-old girl on Facebook.

"The killing of Frankie Fitzgerald is very likely to be a crime of passion driven by her jealousy," the barrister said.

When police arrived, body-worn cameras showed Ms Groves telling officers Mr Fitzgerald had tried to attack her, the court was told.

Mr Perian said Groves used knowledge gained from documentaries to portray herself to a friend as a victim of sexual violence.

The BB gun found in Groves' bedroom drawer shown at her murder trial Credit: Hampshire and Isle of Wight Constabulary

She sent the friend videos of the pair having sex, edited to appear as rape, but the prosecution said the original footage showed it was actually all consensual.

Mr Perian added: "The Crown say that the defendant - by reading about and watching murder documentaries - she was familiar with crime scenes, how to create a false narrative and how to set up a false alibi.

"She deliberately set up a false narrative of being abused by Frankie Fitzgerald, a false alibi she sent to Vicky Baitup and was cleaning the crime scene having watched these documentaries."

Several pictures of serial killers which adorned the walls of Shaye Groves' bedroom Credit: Hampshire and Isle of Wight Constabulary

After Groves was found guilty of murder, Detective Chief Inspector Nicola Burton, of Hampshire Constabulary, said: "Our thoughts, first and foremost, are with the family of Frankie Fitzgerald.

"I would like to praise their courage and hope that today's verdict brings them some small relief, despite knowing that nothing can fill the void left in their family by the loss of Frankie.

"I hope that the sentence Groves receives in due course provides them with reassurance that justice has been secured for Frankie."

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