1. ITV Report

Double killer branded 'evil monster' and starts a life sentence for killing a grandmother in Redcar

A double killer has been branded an "evil monster" as he’s handed a life sentence for smothering his partner to death.

62-year-old Paul Plunkett must serve at least 23 years for murdering grandmother Barbara Davison, from Redcar.

It was the second time he killed a partner in her home, in both cases to silence a petite, vulnerable woman.

Barbara Davison Credit: NCJMEDIA SYNDICATION

The chronic alcoholic served a three-year sentence for manslaughter after strangling Jacqueline Aspery in October 1995.

Plunkett never told Mrs Davison of his previous conviction for unlawful killing during their "volatile" nine-year relationship.

Plunkett forcefully smothered Mrs Davison, 66, in the kitchen of her home on William Street, Redcar on August 15thlast year.

Mrs Davison, who weighed less than 7st, was heard shouting, screaming and crying, Teesside Crown Court heard.

In the early hours of the morning the house fell silent.

Plunkett left her dead, getting into a taxi with a wad of notes and heading to his daughter's home "absolutely mortal drunk"

– Prosecutor Nicholas Lumley QC
Paul Plunkett Credit: Cleveland Police

Girl, I think I've killed Barbara.

– Paul Plunkett to his daughter

The court heard he told his daughter he "put his fist in her mouth so she couldn't breathe", though the defence disputed this.

He then went back to his flat on Station Road, Redcar, before police broke in and arrested him. He had cut his own throat and wrist.

He told officers Mrs Davison "went berserk" in an argument, shouting at him. He said he panicked in a drunken state and repeatedly put his hand over her mouth to stop her shouting and screaming.

  • "'Wicked act' deprived family of loving gran"

Peter Makepeace QC, defending, said Plunkett did the only decent thing he could - to plead guilty.

He said there was limited evidence of domestic difficulties, with not all contacts to police instigated by her and no prosecutions.

He said the pathological evidence suggested Plunkett's account of events was accurate, and argued against a "whole life" tariff for the double killer.

Barbara's home in Redcar, where she was murdered Credit: NCJMEDIA SYNDICATION
  • STATEMENT: Judge Simon Bourne-Arton QC, the Recorder of Middlesbrough

Barbara Davison was a vulnerable individual. She was killed by you in her own home.

You have a history of being violent and abusive in relationships.

Only you know precisely what happened in her house on the night of August 14 and 15.

It may well be that she called out and screamed out and was threatening to call the police.

It’s quite clear even on your account that you tried to stop her, and did so in a determined fashion.

You repeatedly and with some force placed your hand over her mouth.

It may well be that you even forced your fist down her throat, as you were to say to your daughter.

This was a determined effort by you to keep her silent.

– Judge Simon Bourne-Arton QC

Judge Bourne-Arton continued:

"Her death was not immediate, therefore she would have suffered before she died.

It’s quite clear there must have been some time when she was fighting for her life. After you killed her and when you knew she was dead, you did nothing. This is the second occasion that you have unlawfully killed one of your partners."

The judge held back from handing a whole life sentence, but greatly increased Plunkett's minimum term because of his previous manslaughter conviction.

Plunkett was jailed for life with a minimum of 23 years to serve before he will be eligible for parole.

The family of Barbara Davison speak outside court Credit: NCJMEDIA SYNDICATION

"No sentence will ever bring our mam back."

– Family of Barbara Davison