A MERCILESS killer who subjected a Huddersfield mum-of-three to a “sustained and brutal attack” over five terrifying hours as she begged for her life has been jailed.
Reece Ludlow, 20, stabbed Louisa Brannan, 35, a total of 25 times with two kitchen knives and battered her about the head with a frying pan at his mother’s flat.
He had picked her up in a pub.
Ludlow, of Oakwood Court, Benhill Wood Road, Sutton, Surrey, dramatically changed his plea to guilty halfway through his trial. He had initially denied murdering Ms Brannan, formerly of Water Street, Springwood.
Sentencing him to life imprisonment, and ruling that he must serve 17 years before he is even considered for parole, Woolwich Crown Court Judge Nicholas Hilliard told the defendant: “Your victim was naked, defenceless and in unfamiliar surroundings when you made a sustained and brutal attack.
“She asked you to stop, but you did not. You cut her jugular vein with a knife and hit her with a frying pan.
“She did not die straight away and was at your mercy for five hours, naked and terrified, but you showed her no mercy.”
Ludlow, who was at the time subject to a Youth Rehabilitation Order for two muggings, claimed the victim insulted him, his family and ex-girlfriend in the bedroom, and that this was what “triggered” the attack.
However, this was rejected by the judge, who during the trial heard evidence from Ludlow’s ex, Fon Promsan, 19, who was called several times by the defendant as Louisa was fighting for her life.
“You further indulged your feelings of pity in several phone conversations,” he added.
“She was heard to scream and ask for help and you were heard to abuse her and tell her to get up.
“You had several hours to show her one ounce of compassion and you chose not to. You are extremely dangerous when thwarted.”
Louisa had just moved in with her father in Mitcham to support her dying sister, Kayleigh, 22, who had a brain tumour and met Ludlow for the first time at the local Kings Arms pub, on March 14, last year.
He was heard to describe her as “hot” and say: “I’d like to give her one.”
Louisa’s eldest daughter Ebony, 16, suffered a stroke after hearing of her mother’s murder and was confined to a wheelchair for some time, but struggled on crutches to give a tribute at the funeral.
She also leaves behind son Jack, 10, and a younger daughter Gemima.
“She was only 35 when she was unfortunate enough to cross your path and die at your hands,” Judge Hilliard told Ludlow, as over a dozen members’s of Louisa’s family packed the public gallery.
“She did not abuse your mother racially or otherwise or abuse your girlfriend. You invented that as something that could start to explain why you reacted with such extreme violence.
“You were an enthusiastic participant in sexual activity with Louisa Brannan,” added the judge.
“You became angry when you did not receive the comfort from her that you sought.”
Louisa was later found by the emergency services dead in the bath at Ludlow’s blood-splattered flat with multiple knife wounds.
Ludlow had originally denied murder on the grounds of diminished responsibility, but changed his plea after his psychiatrist decided he could no longer support such a defence.
The court was told that he had called his ex-girlfriend, who had dumped him because of his violent tendencies, at 3am, confessing to the stabbing and saying: “She’s in the kitchen and there’s blood everywhere.”
At the time though Louisa was still fighting for her life during the phone calls and Ludlow’s ex-girl friend heard her begging for help and saying: “I’m dying”.
There was blood all over the kitchen, bedroom and bathroom and officers seized a frying pan – which Ludlow had struck the victim with – which had traces of blood and hair on it. A bloody knife was found in the kitchen and another blade on the floor.
A pathologist confirmed the cause of death as multiple stab wounds and found evidence of a blow on the side of Louisa’s head.
Ludlow was arrested six days later, drunk on a train at Victoria Station, but refused to answer questions when quizzed by police.
In a moving victim impact statement Louisa’s mother, Anita Brannan, described her daughter as a “kind, generous, loving, person” whose death had “ripped the family apart.”
Louisa had spent her final days at her father Dave’s home in Mitcham.
“The pain, anger and sorrow are eating him up every day,” the court heard.
“Every minute of every day we have to live with the horrific final moments of Louisa’s life,” added her mother.