St Neots man who drowned girlfriend is jailed

15 June 2019, 05:27 | Updated: 15 June 2019, 05:32

Robert McWhir

A man from St Neots has been jailed for life after being convicted of drowning his girlfriend in a shallow pool of stagnant water just before last Christmas.

Robert McWhir, 26, of Potton Road, St Neots, was found guilty at Cambridge Crown Court yesterday (Friday, 14th June) of the murder of Marissa Aldrich and sentenced to life in prison with a minimum term of 18 years.

He previously pleaded guilty to attempting to pervert the course of justice in the relation to the case, for which he was sentenced to three years in prison to run concurrently, and breaching a restraining order banning him from contacting Marissa, for which he received no separate penalty.

Marissa, 29, was murdered by McWhir on Saturday, December 22, after he became angry due to his belief she had been texting other men.

At the time, McWhir was the subject of a restraining order banning him from contacting Marissa after previously smashing the windows of her home.

The couple, who were described as having an on-and-off-again relationship, had been visiting another couple for Christmas drinks. They left their friends’ home but one of the friends, Luke Holder, telephoned McWhir to say he had left items at the property.

McWhir told Mr Holder, he was killing Marissa and to come to the wooden bridge in Loves Way, St Neots.

Mr Holder rushed to the scene, followed by his partner. Mr Holder, fought 6’2” McWhir off Marissa who was holding under the water. His girlfriend and mother, who joined them at the scene, then tried to assist Marissa who was described as facedown in the water and extremely cold.

Paramedics were called and despite their efforts were unable to save Marissa who was declared dead at Hinchingbrooke Hospital at 4.30am.

McWhir had fled but was found by officers nearby wearing wet clothing. In interview, he implied that Marissa had been drunk and fallen into the water. He denied hurting her and claimed he had tried to get her out but could not.

Detective Inspector Emma Pitts said: “This was a vicious, coldblooded murder for which McWhir has shown no remorse.

“He physically overpowered Marissa, who was more than a foot shorter than him and considerably lighter, and held her under freezing cold stagnant water until she died. He only released her when confronted by his friend and by then it was too late.

“Marissa’s family have lost a much-loved mother, daughter, sister, granddaughter and niece due to McWhir’s callous actions and have now had to endure a trial in a case where the evidence very clearly pointed to the guilty party.”