York & North Yorkshire

Scarborough driving instructor guilty of murder

A driving instructor found guilty of murdering his former girlfriend has been given a life sentence.

Nigel Pickard, 45, of Filey Road, Scarborough, denied murdering Laura Smith, 29, in July.

Leeds Crown Court heard that Pickard had grabbed Miss Smith by the throat in front of their daughter until she collapsed. She died the next day.

Pickard was given a life sentence and told he must serve at least 15 years before being considered for release.

'Wallowed in self-pity'

The court heard Pickard had made a surprise visit to see Miss Smith, who also lived in Scarborough, in July following their separation in May.

Their relationship was said to have deteriorated after Miss Smith became pregnant with their daughter, Olivia, the previous December.

Judge Scott Wolstenhome said Pickard had become bitter and resentful over the break up of their relationship and had wallowed in self-pity, attacking the former hairdresser when he saw her.

The court heard that Pickard had grabbed Laura in front of Olivia, which judge Wolstenhome said was an aggravating feature of the case.

A statement read outside the court on behalf of Trish and Colin Smith, Miss Smith's parents said: "Nothing can compensate for Laura's death. We are relieved that a murder verdict has been reached.

"This trial has been an ordeal for both of us as it brought back that fatal day when we lost our precious daughter and Olivia lost her mummy.

"We now look to the future."

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