Leanne Meecham murder: Stepfather Simon Meecham jailed

Leanne Meecham Image copyright Essex police
Image caption Leanne Meecham was found stabbed at her home on 13 February

A "jealous" man convicted of the murder of his stepdaughter, who was also his former lover, has been jailed for life with a minimum term of 22 years.

Leanne Meecham, 26, was stabbed at her house in Westcliff-on-Sea, in Essex, in February. She died in hospital.

Her stepfather and former partner Simon Meecham, 43, was found guilty by a jury at Chelmsford Crown Court on Wednesday.

Sentencing Meecham, Judge Charles Gratwicke told him: "You are a jealous and aggressive man."

Prosecutors said Meecham, who had previously been married to Miss Meecham's mother Jane, was "motivated by jealousy and anger" at his stepdaughter's new relationship.

The judge told Meecham: "You could not bear to see Leanne with anyone else.

"As a result of your wickedness an innocent and loving young woman was cut down in the prime of her life."

'Determined attack'

During the trial, Meecham, from Rosewood Lane, Shoeburyness, told the jury he injured Miss Meecham by mistake, not realising he was holding a knife.

But Essex Police described the stabbing on 13 February as "a determined, focused and wholly unprovoked attack" on a "defenceless" victim.

Image copyright Essex Police
Image caption Simon Meecham denied murdering his former lover

Miss Meecham died in hospital in London a week later.

A post-mortem examination found she suffered brain damage, caused by a lack of oxygen, after she was stabbed in the windpipe.

A domestic homicide review and an internal police investigation into the case, supervised by the Independent Police Complaints Commission, are taking place.

Police had been called to disturbances at Miss Meecham's house on Park Street on numerous occasions.

In January, he was arrested and pleaded guilty to common assault, leading to he and Miss Meecham splitting up.

Det Ch Insp Mark Hall, of Essex Police, said: "This tragic case illustrates the dangers faced by those who suffer violence and abuse within their homes."

In a statement, the Meecham family said: "Despite the conviction of her killer, his term of imprisonment will never be sufficient punishment for taking Leanne from us."

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