Man jailed for murdering his partner and daughter

06/05/2014

A Merseyside man who told a passing police officer “I want to hand myself in – I’ve just killed my wife and daughter” has been sentenced to life in jail.

Mrs Justice Carr, at Liverpool Crown Court, said William Owen, 55, of Home Farm Road, Knowsley Village, must serve a minimum of 23 years for murdering Sharon Hayter and Stephanie Owen.

She said to Owen: "You will leave prison an elderly man, if you leave prison at all."

The battered bodies of his long-term partner, Sharon, 54, and his daughter Stephanie, 29, were found at the family home on 28 November last year.

They'd suffered several severe blows to the head. Owen claimed to have used a hammer but the weapon used has never been found.

Neighbours reported hearing screaming coming from the house around 7.30am on the day of the grisly discoveries.

Later that morning, Owen went to Huyton police station and confessed the killings to a Police and Community Support officer outside. He later made further confessions to other staff.

The house in Home Farm Road was searched and Sharon's body was found downstairs in a chair. Stephanie was found on the floor of an upstairs bedroom.

Owen was arrested and has been in custody since the incident.

Gary Simpson , Senior Crown Prosecutor with the Crown Prosecution Service Mersey-Cheshire, said: "This was a brutal attack but we may never know the real reason why William Owen killed Sharon and Stephanie on that day.

"The court heard that the couple, who'd been together 30 years,  had a stormy relationship but Owen claimed to be devoted to his daughter, who had learning difficulties.

"Owen confessed to the murders within hours of them taking place and he pleaded guilty in court, saving Sharon's wider family the ordeal of a trial.

"What happened in the lead up to the killings is still a mystery, which is difficult for the wider family to come to terms with but the brutality of the murders is clear.

"The work of the Crown Prosecution Service and Merseyside Police has brought William Owen to justice and we hope that will bring some comfort to Sharon and Stephanie's relatives."