Man Jailed After Murdering Chelmsford Woman

A man's been jailed for life to serve a minimum of 21 and a half years in prison for the murder of a woman in her home in Chelmsford.

32 year old Craig Bird, of no fixed address, appeared at Chelmsford Crown Court this morning, after admitting to murdering Colleen Westlake and causing serious injury to her husband.

Bird was jailed for 12 years for the offence against Mr Westlake which was ordered to run concurrent to the term for murder.

The judge also took in to account the 208 days Bird had already served while on remand.

Mrs Westlake was killed at her home in Pines Road in Chelmsford in April. Mr Westlake suffered serious injuries which he continues to suffer the effects of.

Following the sentencing tributes were paid to Mrs Westlake.

Janet Hopkins, Colleen’s sister said the following in tribute on behalf of her mother and sisters: "We would like to thank Essex Police for their support and kindness during this difficult time. Colleen was a much loved daughter and sister. We cannot put into words what losing her in these circumstances has meant to us. Whilst we welcome yesterday’s guilty pleas, there is no sentence that can be passed that will make up for losing Colleen. Colleen will always be in our hearts and minds and leaves a great void in our lives.”

Robert Westlake, Colleen’s son said: "Colleen Westlake born December 14, 1967 was a woman who lived her life how she wanted. Colleen married Victor on February 14, 1991. After 25 years together their love for one another was as strong as it was from day one. She was a loving mother and grandmother. Colleen is survived by her mother, three sisters, husband and two children. Due to ill health in recent years Colleen was unable to live her life to the fullest, and the cruel circumstances surrounding her passing will be in our minds forever. We say a loving goodbye to a woman who became the life and soul of parties with her dry sarcastic sense of humour. She will be in our hearts always and forever.

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