Ian Bennett who stabbed partner 54 times before his mother helped him hide it, gets life sentence
A domineering boyfriend who stabbed his girlfriend 54 times with two knives after falsely accusing her of cheating on another woman has been sentenced to life in prison today.
Ian Bennett launched a ruthless attack on mother of two Kerry Woolley, then tricked his mother into a ‘cowardly’ plot to cover up his crime.
She was stabbed to death after Bennett, who was described in court as acting in a “paranoid, obsessive and controlling manner”, accused her of sleeping with a woman they met at a wine bar in Solihull.
In a tribute shared today, Kerry’s family said: “We as a family have never given up hope that Kerry would change her life.
“We’ve been supporting her all along, but Ian Bennett took that opportunity away and we’ll never forgive him for that.”
Bennett, 38, from Solihull, was found guilty yesterday by a Birmingham Crown Court jury of the murder of 38-year-old Mrs Woolley.
His mother, Lynda Bennett, 63, was found guilty of assisting an assailant and disrupting justice after dashcam footage of her car showed her driving her son to dump evidence, including the murder weapon, into a canal.
It took the jury less than an hour to reach their verdict on the couple and were convicted today.
Controlling boyfriend Ian Bennett stabbed girlfriend Kerry Woolley (pictured) 54 times in the neck in a paranoid attack after falsely accusing her of sleeping with another woman
Court heard that Bennett (pictured) launched the attack on a house in Solihull in July last year
Judge Melbourne Inman QC called Bennett “an extremely dangerous man” and said the attack on Kerry Woolley was “extreme” violence.
He added that an experiential pathologist considered it “one of the most horrific murders he’d seen.”
Judge Inman told Lynda she acted out of “misguided but genuine love” for her son, but showed no remorse for her crime.
Ms Woolley, described as a ‘beautiful soul’ and ‘warm personality’ in the wake of the tragedy, was found dead at her home in Olton, Solihull, on 12 July last year.
Caroline Goodwin, QC, Prosecutor said the defendant would not let the case go and they got into an argument during which he threw her phone at the TV.
She said the attack on the victim was “cruel and deliberate,” with most of the injuries being in her neck area.
She said there was evidence of defensive injuries and that Bennett had also tried to choke Mrs Woolley.
After that, she said, he bought time for himself and played the part of the hard-working boyfriend who found his girlfriend dead.
Both Bennett (left) and his mother Lynda Bennett (right) were sentenced in court this morning
“He tried to duck and duck, misleading the police, too cowardly to accept what he’d done,” said Miss Goodwin.
She said he had tried to burn some clothes and left on Sunday morning in a car driven by his mother and dumped items from the flat, including a knife he had thrown into a canal.
The court heard how Lynda Bennett’s mistake helped police “unlock” the case against her son.
On dashcam footage in her car that was seized by police, he got rid of potential evidence linking him to the murder, including a knife he used to stab the victim, which he threw into a canal.
Other evidence found on Bennett’s phone found he had researched “The best way to get revenge on a woman.”
Ian Bennett did not testify at the trial, but had alleged to police that Mrs Woolley had been aggressive during an argument and had a knife and that afterward he could not remember what had happened because he had blacked out.
Kerry’s family (pictured) say they will never forgive Bennett for taking her life
Pictured: Bodycam footage of the scene showed Bennett crying to officers after claiming he found Kerry’s body in her flat as he went around checking her, adding: ‘it’s horrific’
The police bodycam footage captured Bennett’s crocodile tears as he told officers, “I’ve been trying to call and call her all day, no answer.
“So I thought I’d knock on the door. The door wasn’t open, so I had to pull the handle and then I walked in there…killed her.’ He then points to the door and sobs, “It’s horrible.”
Lynda Bennett told the jury that she was not aware of her son’s dumping or that he had harmed Mrs Woolley.
Ian Bennett was given a life sentence and must serve a minimum of 25 years before being eligible for release.
Judge Melbourne Inman QC sentenced Bennett to life imprisonment: ‘[Ian] Bennett, you were convicted on overwhelming evidence.
“You went to her apartment. You left the flat two and a half hours later. During that time you viciously attacked Kerry. You used serious physical violence against her.
Pictured: Police at the scene where Kerry was found dead in a flat in Solihull last year
In any case, the violence was extreme. When you used the knives, Kerry was still conscious.
“This was clearly a sustained attack. Kerry must have been terrified before she suffered the fatal injuries
“After killing her, you calmly and composed yourself began to get away with it.
“You are an extremely dangerous man. I am satisfied that the starting point is 15 years.
“A veteran pathologist said it was one of the most gruesome murders he’d seen. There is no significant limitation in your case.’
Judge Inman, who has jailed Lynda Bennett for three years, added: “You, Lynda Bennett, have made determined efforts to help your son.
‘The actions you have taken have had a profound effect on the judiciary.
“It was pure luck that your car had CCTV footage showing what you had done.
In the photo: Ian’s mother Lynda arrived at the scene after being called by her son and speaking to the police
Dashcam footage in Lynda’s car showed Bennett (right) stripping evidence linking him to the murder, including a knife he used to stab the victim. Pictured: Ian and Lynda Bennett
“Obviously you have no regrets. I accept that you had misguided but genuine love for your son.’
In a victim statement read in court, her family described Kerry as a “beautiful, sparkling lady with a heart of gold.”
They went on to say it’s “unbearable to think she won’t see her kids grow up.”
Detective Sergeant Rory Juss, of the West Midlands Police CID, said after the case: ‘Ian Bennett unleashed a vicious and brutal attack on Kerry Woolley, a woman he had been dating for only a few weeks.
“He then chose to blatantly lie about what had happened, but quickly became unhinged as the evidence piled up against him.
His mother’s car, in particular, showed how he had enlisted her help when he threw away the items that would eventually tie him to his crime.
“Neither Ian Bennett nor his mother Lynda have ever repented for their part in this horrific crime and it was gratifying to see that the evidence we were able to present to the jury enabled them to see through their lies.
“Our thoughts have always been with Kerry’s family and we hope Bennett’s convictions, as well as his mother’s, can now offer them some comfort.”