Stephen Devesey jailed for murder over body under floor
A man who murdered his girlfriend and concealed her body under the floorboards of his Birmingham home has been jailed for life.
The body of Nicole Cartmell, 18, was found under the lounge at Stephen Devesey's home in March 2011, three weeks after she went missing.
Devesey, 21, from Handsworth, was found guilty of her murder after a two-week trial at Birmingham Crown Court.
He was told he must serve a minimum of 17 years in prison.
End Quote Nicole Cartmell's family
The verdict, the sentence will never be enough, it will never justify the loss of our beautiful daughter”
Mrs Justice Thirlwall said Devesey had destroyed a family's happiness and taken away the life of a "bright and beautiful" young woman.
The court heard Ms Cartmell was asphyxiated shortly after she made a frightened 999 call on 10 February 2011 from Devesey's home in Whateley Road, Handsworth.
Jurors were told the victim gave birth to the couple's son just a month before her death, although Ms Cartmell lived with her mother in West Bromwich.'Covered smell'
In sentencing, Mrs Justice Thirlwall said: "I am quite sure you intended to kill her. You did not want her to leave you and so you made sure that she did not.
"She had made the decision that her future lay with the child and not you."
Ms Cartmell's body was found by police investigating her disappearance.
West Midlands Police said officers noticed a loose floorboard at Devesey's home.
Det Insp Simon Astle said the victim's body had been "dumped" underneath the floorboards into an old cellar.
He said her body had been covered with clothing, carpets and blankets, while Devesey had burned incense in an attempt to cover the smell.'Broken our hearts'
In a statement, Ms Cartmell's family paid tribute to everyone who had helped bring her killer to justice after a "horrendous" 18 months.
"The verdict, the sentence will never be enough, it will never justify the loss of our beautiful daughter," the statement said.
"Her precious baby boy has had his mother taken, an irreplaceable bond's been broken, it's broken our hearts."
Birmingham Crown Court heard Devesey had also used his victim's bank card on four occasions between her death and the discovery of her body.
After his initial arrest on suspicion of fraud, a search of Devesey's housing association property led to the discovery of Miss Cartmell's purse, driving licence, and a coat she was seen wearing.