Essex

David Oakes jailed for ex-partner and daughter murders

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Media captionDavid Oakes killed Christine Chambers and their daughter Shania with a shotgun

A "domineering" man is to spend the rest of life in prison for murdering his ex-partner and their daughter.

David Oakes shot Christine Chambers, 38, and daughter Shania, two, at their home in Braintree, Essex, in June 2011.

Oakes, 50, of Steeple, near Maldon, was convicted at Chelmsford Crown Court and sentenced to a whole-life term.

He had subjected Miss Chambers to a degrading assault over several hours. Oakes later shot himself in a failed suicide attempt, the court was told.

Drunk and on cocaine, he shot his daughter at point-blank range and shot Miss Chambers three times, before turning the gun on himself.

Prosecutor Orlando Pownall QC said: "He succeeded in the first part of his ambitions but failed in his attempt on his own life."

Girl fled killer

Oakes let himself into the house, in Bartram Avenue, just before midnight on 5 June 2011, armed with a double-barrelled shotgun, an axe and petrol.

The court heard he was "fuelled by jealousy" and "frustrated" that his relationship with Miss Chambers was over.

Oakes and Miss Chambers had been due in court hours later as part of the custody arrangements for Shania.

Jurors were told Oakes was angry that he would only have limited access to his daughter.

Days earlier, he had warned Miss Chambers that he would not let "anybody else be called Daddy by my daughter".

Mr Justice Fulford said: "These tragic and needless deaths occurred in deeply shocking circumstances.

"A bullying and controlling man, who had frequently inflicted violence on Miss Chambers during the six years of their relationship, killed his ex-partner and their young daughter simply because he knew she could not bear to be with him and wished to start a new life."

Miss Chambers' other daughter, then aged 10, witnessed the attack but escaped out of the bedroom window to her father Ian Flitt's house nearby.

'Vile and repulsive'

Oakes was found semi-conscious after blasting himself in the face and was taken to hospital where he underwent surgery, the court heard.

He was absent from court for much of the trial but appeared in the dock with visible facial injuries.

Image caption Christine Chambers and Shania, two, were found dead at their home in Braintree

Oakes had told his trial it was Miss Chambers who shot Shania after attacking him.

Outside court, Miss Chambers' father Ken said: "I hope he rots in hell."

"It is our sincerest hope that he suffers in some way every day of what is left of his hateful, miserable life," he added.

Det Ch Insp Godfrey O'Toole, of Essex Police, said: "His acts of violence were brutal, torturous and inflicted over a long period of time, at the end of which he cold-bloodedly shot and murdered Christine and Shania.

"Not content with what he had done, he later sought to excuse himself of his murderous acts and blame Christine for the death of her beloved daughter.

"The accusation was a vile and repulsive attempt to escape justice by a contemptible individual."

The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) said it is looking into Essex Police's handling of the case. It is expected to issue a report in the next few weeks.

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