May 20 2013 Latest news:
Monday, December 3, 2012
A man who claimed he was a battered husband has been jailed for life for stabbing his wife to death.
Bentley Huggins was convicted in September at the Old Bailey of murdering Desirie Thomas, 35, a British Airways supervisor.
She was found at home in Woolwich with 10 stab wounds to her neck and face.
Huggins, 41, went to police in the early hours of December 23 last year saying he killed her in self-defence after she attacked him with a knife.
Two weeks before he complained to police that she was being abusive towards him, but the jury rejected his claims.
The prosecution said this was a “pre-emptive strike” because Huggins feared she was about to complain about him.
He attacked her hours after she told him she would divorce him. After laying in wait at their home in Wellington Street, he stabbed her from behind.
Judge Anthony Morris told Huggins he would have to serve a minimum term of 20 years.
He told Huggins: “This was a savage and sustained attack.
“You had been violent to your wife before. You convinced yourself that you were a slave or second class citizen, and that your wife would receive better treatment from the courts.”
After the verdict, Huggins, who defended himself after sacking his counsel, told Judge Morris: “You have truly and utterly disgusted me.”
Huggins was unemployed but was not happy with his role of childminder to the couple’s toddler daughter. He stood to be deported back to the Caribbean if the divorce went through.
Zoe Johnson, QC, prosecuting, told the trial: “He murdered his wife not in self-defence but in anger and in cold blood.”
Police forced their way into their 14th-floor flat, Miss Johnson said.
She told the court: “They were met by the grisly sight of Desirie Thomas face down in a pool of blood. There was a kitchen knife close to her body and it had dried blood on the blade.”
The couple married in the Caribbean island of Antigua 22 months before.
“Desirie Thomas was a hard-working woman holding down a demanding job at BA, paying all the household expenses and caring for her child,” she said.
“The defendant is a self-serving person who believes the world owes him a living and believes women should be subservient to his needs.
“On the day she was killed, Desirie Thomas had decided to divorce the defendant. That would have had the inevitable and devastating effect of making him homeless and being sent back to St Kitts.”