Dorset

Ex-lover jailed for Blandford hairdresser murder

Stuart Thomas and Katrina O'Hara Image copyright Dorset Police/Family Handout
Image caption Stuart Thomas stabbed Katrina O'Hara twice in the chest at her place of work

A married father who was under a restraining order for harassing another woman when he killed his estranged lover has been jailed.

Stuart Thomas stabbed hairdresser Katrina O'Hara twice in the chest with a large kitchen knife at her salon in Blandford Forum, Dorset, on 7 January.

The jury had heard Thomas, 50, had been arrested days before for harassing Ms O'Hara, 44.

He was convicted of murder and jailed for life with a minimum of 26 years.

It emerged at court that Thomas was given a five-year restraining order in 2014 for targeting another woman.

Image caption The court was told Thomas chased Ms O'Hara back into the salon before stabbing her

Following sentencing, Ms O'Hara's family said they were "pleased with the result".

During his trial, Winchester Crown Court heard the self-employed builder and married father of four had "lain in wait" for Ms O'Hara and attacked her as she went for a cigarette at the end of her working day at Jocks Barbers.

Thomas, of Salisbury Road in Blandford, then cut his wrists with the same knife.

The pair became romantically involved in May 2015 but by the autumn Ms O'Hara attempted to end the relationship because she did not want to have an affair with a married man, the court was told.

Ms O'Hara had reported Thomas to police just before New Year's Eve after he repeatedly confronted her and sent her "many messages" pleading for her to take him back.

Prosecuting barrister Nigel Lickley QC described Thomas as having a "volatile" relationship with Ms O'Hara, with her trying to leave him several times. Each time he persuaded her to come back by promising to leave his wife or by threatening to harm himself.

Judge Mr Justice Ian Dove described it as a "wicked crime" which "destroyed her life and shattered the lives of those who loved her and cherished her".

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