Birmingham & Black Country

Wendy Thorpe murder: Partner pleads guilty

Tracy Ashfield (left) and Wendy Thorpe
Image caption Tracy Ashfield (left) and Wendy Thorpe had argued about money on the day of Ms Thorpe's death

A woman has been jailed for life after murdering her partner with an ornamental garden swan.

Tracy Ashfield, 43, killed Wendy Thorpe, 42, at their home in Hunter Crescent, Walsall, last July.

She was sentenced at Wolverhampton Crown Court after pleading guilty to the murder.

Ashfield struck Ms Thorpe over the head with the ornament and tried to hide the body before fleeing the scene, police said.

She was told she will serve a minimum of 13 years in prison.

The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said a "quarrel over finances" had led to the murder.

'Confessional note'

Hayley Firman, Head of the West Midlands Crown Prosecution Service's Public Protection Unit, said: "On Saturday 14 July 2012, Ashfield was with her partner at their home when they got into a heated argument over money.

"The argument turned physical and she then picked up a garden ornament and repeatedly struck Ms Thorpe over the head and upper body.

"Realising that Ms Thorpe was not breathing, rather than calling the emergency services for assistance, Ashfield dragged the body to the bottom of the garden and covered it with a blanket, an old settee cushion and garden rubbish in order to conceal the body.

"The following day, she wrote a confessional note, drove away from the property and later telephoned the police telling them what she had done.

"She was arrested, charged and today she has pleaded guilty of murdering her partner and sentenced to life imprisonment."

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