Man Gets 19 Years For Bywater Murder

A 37-year-old man has been sentenced to 19 years in prison after being found guilty of murdering a Bournemouth woman.

Alan Pickersgill was arrested on Wednesday, 5 May 2010 after his ex-girlfriend, Julie Bywater, was found dead inside an address along Wayside Road in Bournemouth.

The 32-year-old teaching assistant had been strangled.

Pickersgill denied murder, but was found guilty by a jury at Winchester Crown Court on Tuesday, 22 February 2011.

He was sentenced at the same court on Wednesday, 23 February 2011.

The court had heard that Pickersgill was unable to accept that his relationship with Julie Bywater had ended and that he had become obsessed with her – even going as far as to use surveillance equipment to track her car journeys.

Julie, who had been attending a massage course with Pickersgill and other students since 2009, had agreed to help him with his studies at his home address on Tuesday, 4 May 2010.

The court found that Julie had been attacked and killed by Pickersgill that evening.

Detective Sergeant Phil Swanton, of the Major Crime Investigation Team, said:

"Julie was a kind and caring girl, who was still on friendly terms with most of her ex-boyfriends. She did not believe that her relationship with Alan Pickersgill was any different from those others.

“When Pickersgill became aware that his and Julie’s relationship may have been coming to an end he became obsessed with tracking her movements and checking up on the things that she was doing.

“The evidence of his obsessive nature is overwhelming and his actions towards Julie demonstrate this quite clearly.

“I believe that he developed the warped view that if he couldn’t have Julie, then nobody else would.

“This was a shocking attack and our thoughts are very much with Julie’s family and friends.”

Detective Chief Inspector Kevin Connolly, also of the Major Crime Investigation Team, added:

“Particular mention should go to Julie’s mother, Christine Bywater, who has shown immense courage during this complex investigation and who has been present throughout the entire trial.

“She has lost not only a daughter, but also her best friend and I hope that today’s outcome goes some way to helping her come to terms with her tragic loss.”