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4 November 2016, 17:18 | Updated: 4 November 2016, 18:52
A man from Milton Keynes has been sentenced to life imprisonment for the murder of his partner at their home in Newton Leys.
Paul Hemming, 43, of Alderney Avenue, has today (November 4th) been found guilty by unanimous jury of one count of murder in connection with the death of Natalie Hemming following a nine day trial at Luton Crown Court.
He was sentenced at the same court today (Nov 4) to a minimum life term of 20 years’ imprisonment.
Hemming pleaded guilty to one count of obstructing a Coroner in the execution of his duty and one count of preventing the lawful and decent burial of a dead body.
He was given 5 years’ imprisonment for each count, to run alongside each other.
Natalie was reported missing to police shortly after 4pm on 3 May 2016 by a relative after having last been seen on Sunday 1 May 2016 at around 3pm in Hemel Hempstead.
Hemming killed Natalie at their home on 1 May before placing her body in the boot of his black Ford S-Max and drove the body to Toms Hill, Chandlers Cross in Hertfordshire where he left her there naked and exposed to the elements.
Hemming was arrested on 4 May and was charged with her murder on 6 May.
Natalie’s body was discovered by a member of the public on 22 May.
Senior investigating officer Det Ch Insp Simon Steel, from Thames Valley Police Major Crime unit, said:
"Hemming killed Natalie in their home in a violent attack while her three children were upstairs asleep. He had opportunities to admit what he had done to lessen the anguish of her family who were desperately missing their mother, daughter and sister, however he only admitted to killing her on the first day of his trial. He then maintained this was an act of manslaughter, which resulted in Natalie’s family having to endure the trial.
This act followed episodes of domestic abuse experienced by Natalie at Paul’s hands, and has left three children to grow up without their mother.
I would like to thank Natalie’s family for their support of the police investigation and to praise the dignity they have shown throughout the trial. While I recognise nothing will ever bring Natalie back to them, I hope this conviction will go some way towards helping them to be able move forward from this devastating stage in their lives."
Liz Scriven, Senior Crown Prosecutor for Thames and Chiltern Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said:
"On the evening of Sunday, 1 May this year at her home in Alderney Avenue, Milton Keynes, Natalie was savagely beaten to the head and killed by her partner, Paul Hemming, while their three children slept in their beds upstairs. After the attack, he made no attempt to call the emergency services, but dumped her naked body, about 30 miles away, in isolated woods near Toms Hill at Chandlers Cross, Hertfordshire where she remained undiscovered until Sunday, 22 May.
Although the cause of death is unascertained, the post-mortem revealed she had not died of natural causes, had a depressed skull fracture (blunt force trauma) and a fractured left forearm (defensive injury). The motive for the killing is believed to be jealousy and his angry response to learning that Natalie was in a new relationship with a work colleague and was moving on with her life.
The morning after killing Natalie, Hemming took their three children on a trip to Whipsnade Zoo. He pretended to be worried and concerned about her whereabouts and welfare and maintained his innocence and lies to family, friends and the police.
Hemming is clearly an extremely cold, callous and calculated man and there is no doubt that, when he attacked Natalie, he intended to kill her or cause her really serious harm.
This case represents a tragedy for Natalie’s family and friends who have been devastated by her death. I would like to pay tribute to them for their wholehearted support of the investigation and prosecution and the dignity they displayed while hearing the horrific details surrounding Natalie’s brutal murder.
We have worked closely with Thames Valley Police since this investigation was launched and as a result of the hard work and diligence of the prosecution team, a just outcome has been achieved. We know that nothing will bring Natalie back to her children, family and friends, but we hope that today’s conviction and sentence brings them at least a small sense that justice has been done. Our thoughts are very much with them all at this time."
Anyone experiencing domestic abuse or who knows someone who is should please call 101 to report it – but if it is an emergency call 999.
All reports will be fully investigated by officers who will deal with any victims sensitively and their safety remains the absolute priority.
Det Ch Insp Simon Steel and his investigation team were commended by the judge for their investigation.