A jealous thug strangled his former girlfriend to death whilst her children were in the house after vowing "If I can’t have you no-one can."
Drug user Jordan Thackray, 28, had been in a volatile “on-off” relationship with Jessica King, but he murdered her last August after she tried to end it and he discovered that she had a new boyfriend.
During an exchange between the couple at her home in Halifax , Thackray warned the 23-year-old:” You slag. Watch what I do to you. If I can’t have you no-one can. What do you think I’m going to do to you?”
In a tragically prophetic reply Ms King responded:”I know what you’re going to do. You’re going to kill me.”
Although she was urged to stop having contact with Thackray Ms King, who lived with her two children, said she “felt sorry” for him and they met up again on the night he killed her.
After strangling his partner Thackray took their two young children in her car from the house in Oxford Lane, Siddal, Halifax, and travelled to his parents’ in Leeds where he dropped the youngsters off.
Thackray lied about Ms King’s whereabouts and sold her car and mobile phone to another man while her concerned family were out looking for her.
On the afternoon of August 27 her mother and sister went to the property in Siddal and found Ms King’s body laid on the bed with her arms across her chest.
Thackray, who had previously served four years in prison for an offence of GBH with intent, was arrested by police after he turned up at a bingo hall in Leeds saying he had done something serious.
He pleaded guilty to the murder charge last month and today the Recorder of Bradford Judge Jonathan Durham Hall QC sentenced him to life in prison with a minimum term of 17 years before he could be considered for release by the Parole Board.
Prosecutor Jason Pitter QC read from moving victim impact statements provided by Ms King’s mother and two of her sisters.
They described how Ms King would “light up a room” with her personality and how her death had been a nightmare for them.
Her mother Ruth Hudson said:”Never in my wildest dreams did I ever think I would have to arrange a funeral for one of my girls.”
She said Thackray’s “selfish actions” had devastated her life and the lives of her two granddaughters and the void would never be filled.
Thackray’s barrister Paul Greaney QC conceded that the victim impact statements were heartbreaking and he referred to a letter of confession provided by his client in which he maintained that he loved Ms King “with all my heart”.
Thackray, of East Grange View, Leeds, claimed he never meant to kill her, but he accepted responsibility for her death and said he would never be able to forgive himself.
“I am sorry from the bottom of my heart to Jessica and all her family.” said Thackray.
Judge Durham Hall said the impact on Ms King’s family was “incalculable” and no-one could possibly understand their turmoil and torment.
He told Thackray that he had committed an act of “unbelievable and incomprehensible wickedness.”
“It was unprovoked. It was born out of, in the final analysis, malice, anger and jealousy.”
The judge said Ms King had been compassionate and sympathetic as she tried to make the relationship work.
“She must have known the risk, but wanted desperately for life to be better,” added the judge.