'Oddball' who raped and killed barmaid jailed

The former bookkeeper found guilty of raping and murdering a barmaid after finding her in a drunken state outside a nightclub in Northampton has been jailed for at least 30 years.

Edward Tenniswood was given a life sentence at Birmingham Crown Court with a minimum term of 30 years for raping and strangling India Chipchase to death.

Tenniswood found Ms Chipchase in a drunken state outside a nightclub in Northampton and promised to "get her home safe".

After killing the woman, 52-year-old Tenniswood told the jury he "cuddled up" to her lifeless body and then sat and drank in a hotel bar for 22 hours until the police came to arrest him.

In court, he claimed the sex had been consensual and that Ms Chipchase's death in his home had been down to his "over-eagerness" in bed.

But the jury swiftly rejected the account of a man described by his own lawyer as an "oddball" and, sentencing him, Mr Justice Saunders told him he would serve at least 30 years behind bars.

During his testimony, Tenniswood claimed Ms Chipchase had a drunken fall and banged her head, but moments later "passionately" kissed him and later had "loving" sex with him.

He spoke of how he and his victim "just clicked" - snapping his fingers for effect in the witness box.

He drew a gasp from relatives in the public gallery when referring with familiarity to Ms Chipchase - a woman he had known only a few drunken hours at most - as "sweet", calling her behaviour "very India".

At his home, he raped his victim with her clothes on and then "squeezed the life" out of her, the prosecution said.

She had 33 separate injuries on her body including evidence of blunt force trauma to her head and bruising to both hips.

The judge told the court: "This was a terrible crime. It was committed because the defendant was determined to satisfy his own sexual desires on an attractive and much younger woman. It was a crime of utter depravity."

In a statement read to court, the victim's mother Sue Chipchase said her daughter "lit up a room" adding: "Her death has left a huge void in all our lives and her siblings are quiet and subdued without her."

Ms Chipchase said: "The actions of this man means we have been condemned to a life spent grieving for a child whose potential we shall never see."

Her father Jeremy Chipchase, in a video statement played in court, said: "I sincerely hope there's no possibility that another woman ever falls into the hands of my daughter's murderer."

His voice cracked with emotion as he said: "No other father will have to see their daughter's body in the mortuary and be told they are unable to touch or kiss her one last time.

He added: "No other father will have to touch the coffin and say 'love you, Ind' and see the curtain close in the crematorium.

"No other father will be hit with a wave of emotion at a wedding, as I was, realising I would never walk India down the aisle."

A Birmingham Crown Court jury took an hour and 45 minutes to convict Tenniswood of rape and murder after a two-week trial.

Topics:  editors picks jail rape

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