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Life sentence for Lincolnshire double murder

|News, Violent crime

A Lincolnshire man has been sentenced to life in prison after he was convicted of murdering his estranged partner and her son in a violent attack at their home in Louth.

Daniel Boulton (30) killed Bethany Vincent and her nine-year-old son, Darren Henson, known by those close to him as DJ, on 31 May 2021. Boulton had been in an on/off relationship with Ms Vincent, but this had ended when he became violent. His aggressive and violent behaviour had continued and he had been issued with repeated restraining orders. The night before the murders, Boulton left the hostel in Skegness where he was staying and travelled on foot to Louth, where he loitered until the next evening. Then at around 8pm, when the victims had returned home, he went to their house, and stabbed both of them to death, before fleeing the scene, once again on foot, hiding in a remote cottage on the outskirts of the town overnight. The next morning, he was recognised by an off-duty police officer. When challenged he used his knife in a bid to escape but was located on a nearby farm and arrested.

He did not deny killing the two victims, but instead claimed he had diminished responsibility due to a personality disorder. He was charged with murder, convicted at Lincoln Crown Court following a five-week trial and today sentenced to life in prison with a minimum term of 40 years.

Stephen Hill from the CPS said: “This was an attack using extreme violence. The evidence of Daniel Boulton’s intent to kill was overwhelming. We have set out to prove that he was not, as he claimed, suffering from a loss of control at the time of the attack. This was instead a planned, premeditated attack carried out by someone who knew exactly what he was doing. Today’s prison term reflects the serious nature of this offence and the danger this defendant poses to society.

“The events of 31 May last year came as a shock to the local community and had a devastating impact on the families of Bethany Vincent and Daren Henson. I offer them my heartfelt sympathies for having lost two people they loved in such sudden and tragic circumstances.”

Building the case

To find a defendant guilty of murder, a jury must be satisfied that there was intent to kill or cause serious harm. In his defence, Daniel Boulton admitted the killings but claimed his personality disorder substantially impaired his ability to form rational judgements and he was therefore unable to control his actions. This is known in law as diminished responsibility. The task for the CPS was to demonstrate that this was not the case and that Boulton was entirely responsible for what he did.

The CPS instructed a psychiatric expert who gave evidence that whilst Boulton did have a recognised condition it was not sufficient to impair his judgement and did not lead to a loss of control. It was also necessary to demonstrate other factors to demonstrate Boulton’s intent.

The CPS presented witness accounts from professionals working with Boulton at the time. He was living in a hostel and receiving support in securing new accommodation for himself. Professionals working with him did not have any concerns that he was exhibiting signs of such a serious mental health condition. One witness, a chaplain, confirmed that Boulton had disclosed his intent to stab the two victims. When he was arrested and treated in hospital, he still did not disclose any issues with his mental health.

Even when he was in a relationship with Ms Vincent, Boulton had shown a long-standing hostility towards Darren Henson, who had learning disabilities.

The CPS also presented evidence of his actions leading up to the murder. The prosecution case was that these showed a level of planning and premeditation. He showed sustained determination to get from Skegness to Louth on foot and patience in waiting around until the evening for the victims to return home.

During the course of the attack, although the violence he used was extreme, he attacked only the people he had previously announced his intention to harm. The prosecution's case was that this showed a level of self-control.

After the murders, he escaped and fled to the outskirts of Louth, where he broke into a property to hide and stole clothing to alter his appearance. The prosecution’s case was that these were the actions of someone trying to escape detection and who therefore knew what they had done. He left a note claiming full responsibility for what had happened.

The morning after the murders, Boulton was still using violence to try to evade detection, turning his knife on the off-duty police officer who identified him.

During the sentencing exercise, the CPS has reminded the court of the premeditation and level of violence used to demonstrate to the court that Daniel Boulton presents a continued risk to society.

Notes to editors

  • Daniel Boulton was convicted of two counts of murder, assault with the intent to resist arrest and burglary, for breaking into the cottage where he hid
  • Stephen Hill is a Senior Crown Prosecutor at CPS East Midlands

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