South East Wales

Kristopher Mitchell jailed for Jessica Watkins murder

Jessica Watkins Image copyright Gwent Police
Image caption Jessica Watkins's family said their world was turned upside down by her murder

A Newport man has been jailed for life after he stabbed and strangled his girlfriend as she lay in the bath.

Jessica Watkins, 21, suffered 27 stab wounds in the frenzied attack by 28-year-old Kristopher Mitchell in May.

Mitchell was jailed for a minimum of 16 years and eight months after pleading guilty to murder at an earlier hearing at Cardiff Crown Court.

Miss Watkins's family said they are still grieving and are disappointed with the length of the sentence.

'Horrific'

Senior investigating officer in the case, Det Chf Insp Roger Fortey said Miss Watkins was "brutally attacked".

Miss Watkins was strangled and stabbed repeatedly after locking herself in the bathroom of Mitchell's Bryn Bevan home following an argument between the pair.

The detective said the row started after a night in the pub about whether to spend their money on more alcohol or buy a takeaway.

Mitchell managed to get into the bathroom and attacked his partner of just a couple of months.

"As was outlined in the case, there were 27 stab wounds following the strangulation - that's a sustained attack and was a horrific thing for her to be subjected to," said DCI Fortey.

Mitchell was arrested at home the following day after showing a friend what he had done.

Life cut short

Image copyright Gwent Police
Image caption Mitchell and Miss Watkins had argued after a night out

DCI Fortey added: "Jessica had a loving family and at just age 21, a long life ahead of her, this was cruelly cut short as a result of Mitchell's actions.

"Our thoughts remain with Jessica's family at this difficult time.

"Although today's sentence will not ease their pain or sense of loss, I hope it will provide a little comfort to them as they move on with their lives."

Following the sentencing, Miss Watkins's family released a statement.

They said: "Five months ago our world was turned upside down when Jess was cruelly taken from us.

"We hope from today we can put a small bit of closure on this tragedy. No sentence will bring Jessie back but we had hoped for a more severe sentence."

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