Northampton

India Chipchase death: Edward Tenniswood jailed for murder and rape

India Chipchase Image copyright SBNA
Image caption India Chipchase was found dead at a house in Northampton in January

An "oddball" loner has been jailed for the rape and murder of a woman he promised to "get home safe" after they met outside a nightclub.

India Chipchase, 20, was found dead at a house in Northampton on 31 January.

Edward Tenniswood, 52, claimed the pair had consensual sex and he had throttled Miss Chipchase a result of his "over-eagerness" in bed.

He will serve at least 30 years for the murder, and was sentenced to 12 years for the rape, to run concurrently.

Judge Mr Justice Saunders described it as "a crime of utter depravity", adding that Miss Chipchase "was vulnerable and he took advantage of her vulnerability".

A jury at Birmingham Crown Court took under two hours to find him guilty.

Lured home by a meticulous killer

Live updates on this story

During a two-week trial, the court heard Miss Chipchase was drunk when she got into a taxi with Tenniswood outside NB's nightclub in Northampton.

Media playback is unsupported on your device
Media captionIndia Chipchase: The final movements of murdered barmaid

The killer told jurors his victim had placed his hands on her neck during "loving" sex at his house.

He said he inadvertently throttled her through "inexperience and incompetence".

The prosecution said he raped his victim with her clothes on and then "squeezed the life" out of her.

He "cuddled up" to her lifeless body, later found under plastic sheeting on a mattress, before leaving the house for a kebab.

He then sat and drank in a hotel bar for 22 hours until police arrested him after tracking Miss Chipchase's phone to his house.

In court - Sally Chidzoy, BBC Look East

Edward Tenniswood gave his evidence to the jury as if he were on stage. He appeared to enjoy the audience - so much so that a police officer commented to me that he "was getting off on it all".

It was as if he was reliving everything and rewriting history.

Media playback is unsupported on your device
Media captionIndia's father Jeremy: "I'll never walk India down the aisle"

The judge repeatedly told him to keep his sentences short but he refused, going into tasteless and inappropriate detail.

He talked of bringing a dummy into court to illustrate a point and said he drank so much the day he met India his body contained "more wine than blood".

At one point, the judge asked jurors to leave the courtroom because India's relatives were visibly upset by Tenniswood's graphic testimony.

He was argumentative with the judge and barristers and frequently became angry and went off topic.

The jury heard he kept cuttings of pictures of beautiful women as "ornaments", including fashion model Heather Stewart-Whyte - who bears a striking resemblance to Miss Chipchase.

He even claimed to have had a relationship with the model, who released a statement to say she had never met Tenniswood and could not offer "any explanation for this inaccurate claim".

Speaking to the victim's aunt and uncle ahead of sentencing, the Judge Mr Justice Saunders QC said: "There is no sentence I can pass that can fully compensate for the loss of India."

Miss Chipchase's parents did not attend the trial.

In a statement read to court, the victim's mother Sue Chipchase said her daughter "lit up a room" adding: "The actions of this man mean we have been condemned to a life spent grieving for a child whose potential we shall never see."

Her father, Jeremy, said in a video statement released after the trial: "I sincerely hope there's no possibility that another woman ever falls into the hands of my daughter's murderer."

Outside court, Det Ch Insp Steve Woliter said he was "confident" Miss Chipchase was Tenniswood's sole victim.

He said Northamptonshire Police had carried out a thorough investigation, including excavating Tenniswood's garden, and found "nothing at all".

Image copyright Northants Police
Image caption Edward Tenniswood had denied raping and murdering India Chipchase
Image copyright Google
Image caption Tenniswood approached Miss Chipchase outside NB's nightclub, where she had previously tried to get in a taxi home
Image copyright Northamptonshire Police
Image caption Tenniswood and Miss Chipchase got out of the taxi a few streets away from his home in Stanley Road

More on this story

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites