Jealous ex killed wife before ringing her daughter with chilling confession

A devoted mother was repeatedly hit, strangled and stabbed to death after she told her jealous ex their relationship was over.

Arthur Stonehouse, 73, "lost control" and attacked Tracy, 51, at his flat before ringing her daughter to say: "I’m sorry, I think I’ve killed your mother."

He then tried to kill himself by taking an overdose, but survived and was taken to hopsital.

Hours earlier the pair had gone for a meal and a drink, but the night ended in an argument and Tracy’s body being discovered in bloody pyjamas.

Birmingham Crown Court heard how Stonehouse battered Tracy repeatedly around the head, strangled her and then stabbed her six times, reports Birmingham Live .

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.

Stonehouse, of Chelmsley Wood, was jailed for life on Monday after pleading guilty to murder, with a judge telling him he would serve a minimum term of 13 years and four months.

Kate Bex QC, prosecuting, said the couple had been together for 25 years and married for seven.

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 Tracy announced she was leaving him and moved out of the family home.

Her husband was reported as telling people that he “would kill her”.

Then in early spring, Stonehouse saw a message on Facebook which suggested Tracy had found a new man.

Miss 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.

The hearing also heard how Tracy was 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 for a meal and for a drink at a club.

Miss Bex said CCTV footage shows the couple arguing as they left, and then shows them getting out of the car and going up to Stonehouse’s fifth floor flat in Coraline Close.

In the early hours of the following morning he 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.

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 painkillers 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 broken her nose when he caught her kissing another man. He also attacked the other man with bottles, an axe and a chisel.

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Tracy’s sister, Alison O’Connell, read out a victim impact statement on behalf of the 20-strong members of the family who sat in the public gallery, crying throughout the whole proceedings.

In it, she said Tracy was “the glue which held the family together” and that she was “devoted to her family”.

Ms O’Connell said: “We are numb – we are just a normal family. This has been like a horror film for us.”

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."

Tracy’s family have paid tribute to their mother. 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.”

Stonehouse was charged with Tracy’s murder on Sunday, April 15.

Detective Inspector Caroline Corfield, from Force CID, said: “We know that Arthur Stonehouse’s relationship with Tracy had become strained before her death.

“On the evening of her murder Arthur and Tracy had argued in a local club before returning to Arthur’s flat where he attacked her, inflicting blows to her head and face, and strangling her – rendering her unconscious – before stabbing her six times.

“He then sent texts and made phone calls to a number of family and friends admitting to attacking her after she stated their relationship was over. Police and paramedics forced entry to Arthur’s flat and found him with Tracy’s body. Tragically, nothing could be done to save her.

“Arthur was 73-years-old but Tracy was only 51 and had so much to live for. Tracy 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.”

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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