Man found guilty and jailed for murder of his partner - Milton Keynes

04/11/2016

A man appeared at Luton Crown Court today, Friday, 04 November 2016, and was jailed for life, and is to serve a minimum of 20 years, for the murder of his partner in Milton Keynes in May.

Paul Hemming, aged 43, of Alderney Avenue, Newton Leys, Milton Keynes, was sentenced today after being found guilty of the murder following a nine-day trial.

Hemming had previously pleaded guilty to one count of obstructing a Coroner in the execution of his duty and one count of preventing the lawful and decent burial of a dead body and was sentenced to five years' imprisonment for each of these counts, which will run concurrently to the life sentence.

Natalie Hemming, aged 31, was reported missing to police shortly after 4pm on 03 May 2016, by a relative. She was last seen alive at about 3pm on Sunday, 01 May 2016, in Hemel Hempstead, Hertfordshire.

Hemming killed Natalie at their home on 01 May 2016, before placing her body in the boot of his black Ford S-Max, driving to Toms Hill, Chandlers Cross, in Hertfordshire and dumping her, naked and exposed to the elements. Natalie's body was subsequently discovered by a member of the public three weeks later, on 22 May.

Liz Scriven, Senior Crown Prosecutor for Thames and Chiltern Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said: "This case involved the untimely death of 31-year-old Natalie Hemming in Milton Keynes in May.

"On the evening of Sunday, 01 May this year at her home in Alderney Avenue, Milton Keynes, Natalie was savagely beaten to the head and killed by her former partner, Paul Hemming, while their three children slept in their beds upstairs. After the attack, he made no attempt to call the emergency services, but dumped her naked body about 30 miles away in isolated woods near Toms Hill at Chandlers Cross, Hertfordshire, where she remained undiscovered until Sunday, 22 May. Although the cause of death is unascertained, the post-mortem revealed she had not died of natural causes, had a depressed skull fracture (blunt force trauma) and a fractured left forearm (defensive injury). The motive for the killing is believed to be jealousy and his angry response to learning that Natalie was in a new relationship with a work colleague and was moving on with her life.

"The morning after killing Natalie, Hemming took their three children on a trip to Whipsnade Zoo. He pretended to be worried and concerned about her whereabouts and welfare and maintained his innocence and lies to family, friends and the police. In accounting for her whereabouts, he claimed she needed time away to think and had gone to stay with a friend, but family and friends, who had been unable to contact her for two days, reported her missing on 03 May. Hemming was linked to Natalie's disappearance by CCTV and ANPR, which identified his work car heading south from his home address past the site where Natalie's body was eventually found 21-days later, and back home again. Following forensic examination of the family home, traces of Natalie's blood were discovered in the living room, on the leg of the coffee table, and in the boot of his work car. Hemming is clearly an extremely cold, callous and calculated man and there is no doubt that, when he attacked Natalie, he intended to kill her or cause her really serious harm.

"Hemming vehemently denied any involvement in, or responsibility for, Natalie's death for seven months, during extensive police interviews before and after his arrest. It wasn't until the first day of his trial that he accepted some responsibility and pleaded guilty to manslaughter. His plea was not accepted, the case proceeded to trial and he has today been found guilty of murder despite his denials of intending to kill or cause serious harm to Natalie.

"This case represents a tragedy for Natalie's children, family and friends who have been devastated by her death. I would like to pay tribute to them for their wholehearted support of the investigation and prosecution and the dignity they displayed while hearing the horrific details surrounding Natalie's brutal murder. I would also like to thank the witnesses, who gave evidence in very difficult circumstances.

"We have worked closely with Thames Valley Police since this investigation was launched and as a result of the hard work and diligence of the prosecution team, a just outcome has been achieved. We know that nothing will bring Natalie back to her children, family and friends, but we hope that today's conviction and sentence bring them at least a small sense that justice has been done. Our thoughts are very much with them all at this time."

Senior investigating officer Detective Chief Inspector Simon Steel, from Thames Valley Police Major Crime unit, said: "Hemming killed Natalie in their home in a violent attack while her three children were upstairs asleep. He had opportunities to admit what he had done to lessen the anguish of her family, who were desperately missing their mother, daughter and sister. However, he only admitted to killing her on the first day of his trial. He then maintained this was an act of manslaughter, which resulted in Natalie's family having to endure the trial.

"This act followed episodes of domestic abuse experienced by Natalie at Paul's hands, and has left three children to grow up without their mother.

"I would like to thank Natalie's family for their support of the police investigation and to praise the dignity they have shown throughout the trial. While I recognise nothing will ever bring Natalie back to them, I hope this conviction will go some way towards helping them to be able move forward from this devastating stage in their lives."