Berkshire

Laurens Brand jailed for murdering wife Angela Mittal

Angela Mittal Image copyright Thames Valley Police
Image caption Angela Mittal was found dead at the couple's home in Shinfield

A "controlling" husband who murdered his wife by stabbing her 59 times has been jailed for a minimum of 16 years and eight months.

Laurens Brand, 47, used two kitchen knives to kill his wife Angela Mittal at their home in Shinfield, near Reading, on Boxing Day.

Mrs Mittal, 41, had spoken to a solicitor about getting a divorce in the days before the attack.

Brand called 999 45 minutes after the murder to admit what he had done.

In a recording of the call played to Reading Crown Court, Brand could be heard saying: "My wife has been driving me crazy for some time already.

"She was going to leave me... I couldn't let that happen."

Image caption Laurens Brand phoned police to confess to the stabbings

The court was told the couple met through work in Brand's native Holland in 2004 and married two years later.

Matthew Walsh, prosecuting, said Mrs Mittal had been a "bubbly" character but had become "more withdrawn" in recent years.

Brand would be copied in on correspondence to his wife's family, started going through her messages without permission and was showing "all the hallmarks" of controlling behaviour, the court heard.

'Extreme fear'

Mrs Mittal called police on 29 November after her husband punched her, and first saw a solicitor to discuss a divorce on 3 December.

Brand later told her he "needed help" and wanted them to continue marriage counselling, but on 21 December she instructed her solicitor to file for divorce.

Bank records showed Mrs Mittal transferred £35,000 from their joint account to her personal account less than two hours before her body was discovered in the early hours of Boxing Day.

Mr Walsh said of the 59 stab wounds Mrs Mittal suffered, 11 were to the head and neck, 20 to the torso, and 28 to the upper arms.

This showed the attack, which started when Mrs Mittal was in bed, was "brutal, sustained and determined", he told the court.

In victim statements, Mrs Mittal's family said Brand "might as well have stuck a knife through us as well".

They added they had suffered nightmares and anxiety imagining Mrs Mittal's final moments.

Sentencing Brand to life, Judge Heather Norton said Mrs Mittal "undoubtedly suffered extreme fear and pain" in the moments before she died.

"At some point during the course of the attack your knife broke, you left the room, went to the kitchen, fetched another knife and then returned to continue the attack upon her," she said.

"Your attack upon her was ferocious."

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