Joe Atkinson sentenced to life for murder of Poppy Devey-Waterhouse

|News, Violent crime

The murderer of 24-year-old maths graduate Poppy Devey-Waterhouse has been sentenced to life imprisonment today.

Joe Atkinson, 25, was ordered to serve a minimum term of 16 years and 2 months at Leeds Crown Court today (12 April) over the murder which took place on 14 December last year.

Poppy, a prodigiously gifted mathematician, was due to move out of the flat they shared in Richmond Hill, Leeds, two days later.

Their three-year relationship had ended some weeks previously and they were both seeing other people.

While Atkinson was on a Christmas night out with his colleagues Poppy remained at home, chatting to her new boyfriend on the telephone.

When Atkinson returned in the early hours, fuelled by jealousy, he perpetrated a prolonged attack on Poppy, wounding her over 40 times in the head and neck.

Forensic evidence showed that Poppy bravely tried to fight off her attacker, only to succumb to her injuries in the blood-stained hallway of her home.

Claire Harris, from the CPS, said: “Poppy was bright and beautiful, with her whole future ahead of her. Atkinson cruelly and horrifically extinguished this promise.

“After attacking Poppy in a vicious frenzy, Atkinson attempted to clean the scene and dispose of his clothes, only contacting the emergency services hours later. Atkinson initially claimed that he was acting in self-defence.  This was a wicked, cowardly and self-serving lie.

“Today he is beginning a life sentence with a minimum term of 16 years and two months. I hope this sentence is of some comfort to Poppy’s grieving family and friends. Our thoughts remain with them.”

Notes to editors

  • Claire Harris is a Senior Crown Prosecutor with CPS Yorkshire and Humberside
  • Joe Atkinson (DOB 20/04/94)

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