Cage fighter jailed for 32 years after stabbing ex-girlfriend to death
Cocaine-fuelled cage fighter, 37, who stabbed his beautician ex-girlfriend, 32, to death in front of her 13-year-old daughter after accusing her of being an escort is jailed for at least 32 years
- Cage fighter Andrew Wadsworth, 37, found guilty of murdering Melissa Belshaw
- He stabbed 32-year-old beautician to death on May 20 in front of her daughter
- He was also found guilty in the same trial of trying to murder a man in the street
- Today, Wadsworth was jailed for a minimum of 32 years for murderous rampage
A former professional cage fighter who murdered his ex-girlfriend in front of her 13-year-old daughter has been jailed for a minimum of 32 years.
Violent criminal Andrew Wadsworth, 37, stabbed Melissa Belshaw to death at her Billinge, Wigan home, two months after he came out of prison on licence and became consumed by an obsession about her sex life.
Fuelled by cocaine and alcohol, Wadsworth subjected the 32-year-old to a prolonged attack with a large kitchen knife in her bedroom on the afternoon of May 20.
A passer-by bravely rescued Ms Belshaw’s terrified daughter by smashing into the locked house in Billinge, Wigan, with a hammer.
Wadsworth then went out on to the street armed with the same knife and repeatedly stabbed a concerned neighbour who heard the screams coming from the property.
He then delivered a roundhouse kick to the head of a police constable at the scene where he was arrested and then later punched another officer in the face in a police cell, Manchester Crown Court heard.
Wadsworth was found guilty by the jury of murder and attempted murder, and pleaded guilty at an earlier hearing to two assaults on police officers.
He was cleared of making a threat to kill against Ms Belshaw’s daughter and was sentenced to a minimum of 32 years in prison.
Wadsworth, 37, (pictured) stabbed Ms Belshaw to death in a ‘prolonged, remorseless attack’ in the front bedroom of her home in Billinge, Wigan
Wadsworth was found guilty by the jury of murder and attempted murder, and pleaded guilty at an earlier hearing to two assaults on police officers
He started seeing Ms Belshaw from March 2018 but was recalled to prison in January 2019 after a positive test for cocaine. He was then released again on licence on March 4 this year following a Parole Board hearing
Wadsworth admitted stabbing Ms Belshaw but relied on a partial defence to murder of a loss of control following what he claimed was a string of shock revelations about her sex life.
Sentencing him on Thursday to life imprisonment, Mrs Justice Yip said: ‘At trial, you painted a very negative picture of Ms Belshaw as you set out to shift responsibility away from you and to blame her for what happened. Some of the things you claimed were demonstrably false.
‘Your character assassination undoubtedly went beyond anything that was justified. You had degraded her in her life and you continued to do so after her death.
‘She may have made some mistakes in her life but at the time of her death she was pursuing her dream of having her own beauty salon. She was still only young and was seeking to turn her life around. Sadly, she made a fatal mistake in becoming involved with you and you took her future away.’
The trial heard that Wadsworth regularly accused Ms Belshaw in text messages from September 2019 of cheating on him, including by working as a prostitute.
The judge noted: ‘You claimed that you had loved her but the numerous derogatory words used in your text messages to her suggest otherwise. By contrast, you appear to have had a very high opinion of yourself. Your messages display a wholly unwarranted air of moral superiority.’
Wadsworth came out of prison on licence in November 2017 following a five-year jail sentence imposed in 2010 for two offences of robbery involving imitation firearms and a 10-year custodial term in 2011 with an extended licence of two years for aggravated burglary and causing grievous bodily harm with intent.
Wadsworth attacked and murdered his partner Melissa Belshaw, 32, (pictured) on May 20
Wadsworth had an obsession with the sex life of Ms Belshaw (pictured) and claimed she told him she was an escort
Forensic officers at the home of Ms Belshaw, where she was found dead by police after the attack on May 20
He started seeing Ms Belshaw from March 2018 but was recalled to prison in January 2019 after a positive test for cocaine. He was then released again on licence on March 4 this year following a Parole Board hearing.
Wadsworth was sent to live at an approved hostel but was allowed to move to his mother’s address just a fortnight later because of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Mrs Justice Yip commended the bravery of van driver Kevin Moores, 40, who pulled Ms Belshaw’s daughter to safety after she courageously rang police and then helped Ms Belshaw’s neighbour, Gerard Bristow, 46, break free from Wadsworth’s grasp.
The judge said Wadsworth had come close to killing Mr Bristow, who suffered wounds to his chest and head, a partially severed right ear and a punctured lung.
A wound to his right shoulder has left him with nerve damage, which has left him unable to exercise and play sport, the court heard.
In a victim personal statement, Ms Belshaw’s mother, Jean Mulvaney, said her daughter was a ‘beautiful soul inside and out, who had a heart of gold and many friends.’
She added: ‘The opening of a new shop was her dream and a turning point for her life.’
Following sentencing, Ms Belshaw’s family said: ‘The trial has been an extremely traumatic experience as we’ve had to sit through every detail of how Melissa was killed.
‘The defence continually tried to destroy her memory and showed a total lack of sympathy or sensitivity towards the family and the loss we have suffered.’
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