Killer Matthew Farmer who smiled and winked to police after stabbing his ex-partner 21 times was described as a “monster” who brutally claimed her life.
Family tributes were read out at Nottingham Crown Court as Farmer, 42, of Logan Street, Bulwell, was sentenced in his absence, with him understood to have taken an overdose of tablets and in intensive care.
He was given a life sentence for her murder with a minimum term to serve of 29 years before an application can be made for parole.
The development comes a day after Farmer was found guilty by a jury unanimously on Thursday, January 20, of the murder of 39-year-old Stacey Clay, who he had been in a relationship with for 15 years before they broke up.
He gave evidence earlier this week and was present for the verdict but, when the case was listed for sentence on Friday (January 21), news of his apparent overdose emerged and his admission to hospital.
Farmer, who had a history of overdoses, had also previously refused or not attended court on other occasions.
The court had heard how he murdered Miss Clay with a knife and attempted to strangle her after months of threats and intimidation.
One emotional tribute was penned by Miss Clay’s mother, Carol York. She said: “There are no words and those I have are not deserved by the monster that took her life. I do not want to waste anymore time with him.”
Ms York went on to say: “However, sadly Stacey does not have a voice, so I have tried to explain the best I can for the court and the jury to understand just what she meant to those that love her.
“Stacey had so much to live for, she was searching for an easy life being free, to think for herself. She was never given that chance.
“She met someone that could manipulate and control her, a nasty man, but sadly she couldn’t see that.”
Ms York said her daughter will miss her children’s important years and events, birthdays, Christmas, proms, getting married, having children of their own, and she will never be a granny.
“[She’ll] never be able to see how their lives turned out. He took that away from her and also them, all because he needed control, all because he wanted him, him, him.”
The statement from Ms York went on to say: “Stacey couldn’t go to work, go out with friends, attend family gatherings, [she was] not allowed to lose weight, even.
“He took it all away. Just like he took her life on that Wednesday morning knowing if he couldn’t have her then nobody will.
“In her last few days, Stacey had found herself and realised she had finally had enough of you (I won’t even say your name).”
Ms York said in the end her daughter chose to have a better life, “without the misery and torment you put upon them”.
“She was being strong and, knowing that, you took it all away from her and the children.
“As her mother, I gave birth to her. She was the only one to listen to my heartbeat for nine months. We shall all have memories, but she deserved so much more and so does all her family.”
“I have no more words to waste on you,” she added of Farmer. “You deserve nothing. My only hope is that we, as a family and also friends, get the justice for Stacey. She deserves it.”
The case against Farmer
The planned killing by Tesco Extra security guard Farmer involved him buying the knife at work before he went to Miss Clay’s home in Andover Road, Bestwood, in the early hours.
Wearing a hoody, Farmer placed his hand over a window where Miss Clay had her CCTV positioned and breathed on the glass, which Judge Gregory Dickinson QC said on Friday, January 21, was to “intimidate”.
Miss Clay, whose motion-activated camera delivered text alerts, saw the footage and called police – but Farmer hid out of sight behind a large barbecue and had come prepared for a long wait with a bar of chocolate and bottle of Lucozade.
A shocking recording played at his trial showed Miss Clay looking over the garden fence for any further damage (furniture had been damaged before) when Farmer leapt forwards and delivered 21 stab wounds to her neck, back and flank, some which penetrated into her chest.
Farmer continued the attack even when a neighbour screamed at him to stop, Nottingham Crown Court heard.
Judge Dickinson said the stabbing stopped only when the knife broke, the blade was later removed in surgery.
Another neighbour had described Farmer punching Miss Clay to the face and later one of Miss Clay’s eye sockets was found to be fractured.
“The knife having broken, you then strangled Stacey,” said the judge.
Serious damage was caused to a vital blood vessel.
Farmer was still struggling with Miss Clay in her back garden when the first police officer arrived, before the violence ended when another police officer tasered him.
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