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Tuesday, 7 August 2018

Jealous husband murdered his estranged wife then rang her daughter to say: 'I'm sorry, I think I've killed your mother'

  • Arthur Stonehouse, 73, battered, strangled and stabbed estranged wife Tracy, 51
  • Pensioner then called family and friends telling them she 'pushed him too far'
  • He was arrested but took an overdose of painkillers and was then hospitalised
  • Stonehouse now jailed for life to serve a minimum of 13 years and four months 
Arthur Stonehouse, 73, (pictured) of Chelmsley Wood, Birmingham, flew into a rage and brutally attacked his wife Tracy, 51, in his flat in the early hours of April 6
A jealous pensioner who brutally murdered his estranged wife before attempting to kill himself has been jailed for life.
Arthur Stonehouse, 73, of Chelmsley Wood, Birmingham, flew into a rage and brutally attacked his wife Tracy, 51, in his flat in the early hours of April 6. 
Birmingham Crown Court heard Tracy had been battered around the head, strangled and stabbed six times during the frenzied attack. 
He then spent the next hour and a half ringing, visiting and texting his family and a friend saying Tracy had 'pushed him too far', before trying to kill himself by taking a massive overdose. 
Tracy was found in a pool of blood wearing her pyjamas by police officers who forced their way into the property.  
On Monday Stonehouse was jailed for life to serve a minimum of 13 years and four months. 
Kate Bex QC, prosecuting, said the couple had been together for 25 years and married for seven years.She said it was a tempestuous relationship, with both prone to fits of violence when they had been drinking. At the end of last year Mrs Stonehouse announced she was leaving him and moved out of the family home.
After this her husband was reported as telling people that he 'would kill her'.
Tracy Stonehouse with son Lewis Cottrill and daughter Kerry Ann O'Connell. She was killed by her ex husband Arthur Stonehouse, who had become jealous she was seeing someone else
Tracy Stonehouse with son Lewis Cottrill and daughter Kerry Ann O'Connell. She was killed by her ex husband Arthur Stonehouse, who had become jealous she was seeing someone else
Then in early spring Stonehouse saw a message on Facebook which suggested Tracy had found a new man.
Ms Bex said by now the couple were living separately, but seeing each other frequently and spending nights at each other's addresses.
'Tracy was telling people that she cared for Arthur but didn't love him,' she said.
Mrs Stonehouse was also a 'big spender' and financially dependent on her husband for money.
On April 5 this year the couple were still living apart but getting on well enough to go out to Coleshill for a meal, after which they called in at the Banbury Club in Chelmsley Wood for a drink.
Ms Bex said CCTV footage shows the couple arguing as they left the club, and then shows them getting out of the car and going up to Stonehouse's fifth floor flat. 
In the early hours of the following morning the defendant began making a series of phone calls, texts and personal visits.
They were all along the lines of 'I'm sorry for what I've done', 'She pushed me too far' and 'She pushed me over the top'.
The calls went on for another hour and eventually one of them to his step-daughter said: 'I'm sorry, I think I've killed your mother'.
Miss Bex said at this point his family rang police and had also gone round to the flat themselves but couldn't get in.

FAMILY'S TRAGIC TRIBUTE TO MOTHER

Tracy's family paid tribute to their mother in a statement released via police. They said: 'We feel utterly betrayed by Arthur. We used to think of him as a person we trusted to protect Mom.
'She wasn't just Mom; she was a sister, aunty, grandmother and best friend. She was a huge part of all our lives. She was the glue that held our family together.
'The impact this has had on our family is unbearable. She will always be in our hearts and thoughts. We love you so much Mom and miss you millions.'
Kerry Ann, Tracy's daughter, added: 'We don't want Mom's death to be in vain.
'We are working with Birmingham and Solihull Women's Aid to help other families of women suffering domestic violence.
'No family should ever have to go through what we are going through.'     
Police arrived at 1.40am, forced an entry and found Tracy lying on the bed in her pyjamas covered in blood.
A post-mortem examination revealed blunt force trauma injuries to her head and face, pressure to her neck and six stab wounds to her body.
Her husband was arrested but taken to hospital because he had taken an overdose of painklillers where he remained in a critical condition for eight days.
When he was released and interviewed by police, he answered all questions with 'no comment'.
Miss Bex said the defendant had a history of violence. In November 1987 he'd attacked his ex-wife and broke her nose when he caught her kissing another man. He also attacked the other man with bottles, an axe and a chisel. 
Stonehouse sat impassively throughout the proceedings, showing no emotion.
Andrew Fisher QC, defending, said: 'Not a day goes by without my client regretting what he did.'
He said during the argument, Stonehouse had 'lost control' and violently attacked his wife - and then took a massive overdose - with the intention of killing himself, but survived.
Judge Mark Wall told Stonehouse he had committed a 'brutal' attack on his wife and said: 'I have no doubt you intended to kill her.
'Your actions have left a family in deep grief and despair.' 
Detective Inspector Caroline Corfield, from West Midlands Police, said after the case: 'We know that Arthur Stonehouse's relationship with Tracy had become strained before her death. 
'Arthur was 73-years-old but Tracy was only 51 and had so much to live for. She leaves behind a wonderful family who are devastated by her loss. I know the outcome of the case offers them little consolation and our thoughts remain with them.' 
Tracy's family paid tribute to their mother in a statement released via police. They said: 'We feel utterly betrayed by Arthur. We used to think of him as a person we trusted to protect Mom.
'She wasn't just Mom; she was a sister, aunty, grandmother and best friend. She was a huge part of all our lives. She was the glue that held our family together.
'The impact this has had on our family is unbearable. She will always be in our hearts and thoughts. We love you so much Mom and miss you millions.'
Kerry Ann, Tracy's daughter, added: 'We don't want Mom's death to be in vain.
'We are working with Birmingham and Solihull Women's Aid to help other families of women suffering domestic violence.
'No family should ever have to go through what we are going through.

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