Man who bludgeoned his wife to death convicted of murder
A man who bludgeoned his wife to death in the stables they owned in Cheshire has been found guilty of her murder.
The Crown Prosecution Service pursued a charge of murder against David Pomphret, 51, who hit his wife more than thirty times to the head with a crow bar on 2 November 2018.
He pleaded guilty to manslaughter and said he “lost control” in the attack at The Stables in Old Alder Lane in Warrington, after years of being bullied and harangued by his wife.
But the CPS said he didn’t lose control, he lost his temper and subjected Ann Marie Pomphret, 49, his wife and the mother of their daughter, to a sustained and brutal assault and then spent the time between the killing and calling the emergency services covering his tracks, and the following months denying he had anything to do with it.
Liverpool Crown Court heard that the couple lived in Masefield Avenue in Warrington and owned land with some stables a short distance away, where they kept a number of horses.
David Pomphret rang 999 at 9.47pm on the night of the killing and told the call handler that he had found her there, dead. He said: “My wife came to the stables a couple of hours ago and I’ve have not been able to get her on the phone so I have just come down…and she is laying on the floor in a pool of blood."
When asked when he had last seen his wife, he gave three different times. He said they had been shopping earlier in the evening and that Ann Marie had gone back to the stables because she had forgotten something.
The call handler tried to guide the defendant through CPR and he refused saying “No, she is stone cold.” The call handler continued to encourage David Pomphret to start CPR and he answered, “Are you joking?”
The paramedics arrived at the stables and it was clear that Ann Marie was dead. David Pomphret travelled with them, two police officers and his wife’s body to the hospital, He continued to deny to the officer that he had anything to do with her death. He made several attempts to cry, but no tears came.
He was interviewed around 14 times by police in the coming months and continued to deny what he had done. Cheshire Police had to conduct a lengthy investigation to rule out anyone else’s involvement in the murder.
Finally, at the Pre-Trial Preparation Hearing at Liverpool Crown Court in May 2019, in the face of an overwhelming case built by the Crown Prosecution Service, he pleaded guilty to manslaughter. But the CPS refused to accept this and pursued a prosecution for murder.
David Jones, of Mersey Cheshire Crown Prosecution Service said: “We said that David Pomphret intended to kill his wife or cause her serious harm - that, in law, is murder, not manslaughter.
“Mr Pomphret used a crowbar to rain a multitude of blows on his wife and then went to elaborate lengths to cover up what he had done and lied for months about it.
“These are not the actions of a man who had temporarily lost control. They are the actions of a murderer, who knows exactly what he is doing and means to do it.
“The Crown Prosecution Service never argued that the Pomphrets had a perfect marriage. Ann Marie Pomphret may not have been an easy person but she did not deserve to die. David Pomphret thought that he had committed the perfect murder but killers always eventually make mistakes.
“Crucially, he forgot to change the socks he had on, the night of the killing, despite changing all of his other clothes. The socks contained airborne spatters of blood and were proof that he was there at the time of the killing.
“The CPS could have accepted his plea to manslaughter but we were convinced that all of the evidence showed a clear intention to kill Ann Marie.
“The jury have agreed with the Crown’s case and dismissed Mr Pomphret’s defence of loss of control. The Pomphret's daughter, who has just turned 18, has lost both her mother and her father, as Mr Pomphret now faces a life sentence. Our thoughts remain with her at this difficult time.”