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22 July 2013, 13:30
A man from Stevenage has been jailed for life for beating his teenage ex-girlfriend to death with a dumb-bell in the presence of their young daughter.
Jack Wall, 22, murdered 19-year-old Amelia Arnold on November 7 last year, after she ended their relationship following his "consistent and persistent'' abuse, a court heard.
Wall used "terrifying force'' as he attacked her in the home they shared in Stevenage after she threatened to report him to police for assaulting her, Blackfriars Crown Court was told.
He fractured her skull by hitting her with a dumb-bell before stuffing a sock in her mouth, fearing she was still alive, the hearing was told.
Wall's uncle, Joseph Potter, described in court as a "seasoned criminal'', then helped his nephew dump Miss Arnold's body in a shallow grave in Travellers Lane, Hatfield.
She was found in woodland four days after being reported missing. A post-mortem examination revealed she died as a result of head injuries.
Wall, of Hadrian's Walk, Stevenage, denied murder but was found guilty by a jury last week.
Wearing a blue Nike T-shirt, he bowed his head as he was jailed for 19 years, along with a four-and-a-half-year sentence for obstructing a coroner, to run concurrently.
Judge Aidan Marron QC told him: "You took a life. You also deprived your child of a devoted mother.
"It is my judgment that you subjected her to consistent and persistent physical and verbal abuse.
"It is my view that she was terrified of you... you sought to control not just her but everything about her.
"She saw sense and was determined to end the abusive relationship. Your response to that was to attack her.
"It took place in her home in the presence of her little child.''
Potter, from Sycamore Avenue in Bletchley, was jailed for two and a half years for assisting an offender and obstructing a coroner.