Essex

Becky Parker killing: Matthew Smith jailed for 'merciless' cable-tie murder

Becky Parker Image copyright Essex Police
Image caption Isobel Parker, known as Becky, was six months pregnant when she was strangled by her ex-boyfriend

The ex-boyfriend of a pregnant mother of two who killed her with cable ties has been jailed for 18 years for her murder.

Isobel Parker, 23, who was known as Becky, was strangled at her flat in Burnham-on-Crouch, Essex, in July 2015.

Factory worker Matthew Smith, of Wood Corner Caravan Park, Maldon, was convicted by a jury at Chelmsford Crown Court on Monday.

Judge Charles Gratwicke said it was "a brutal and merciless killing".

During his trial, the court heard Ms Parker had ended her relationship with Smith in December 2014.

Live: More updates on the murder of Isobel Parker

Image copyright Essex Police
Image caption Factory worker Matthew Smith will serve a minimum of 18 years for Ms Parker's murder

"Smith could not accept that his relationship with Isobel was over after she had moved on to the extent that she was six months pregnant by a new partner," said Det Ch Insp Martin Pasmore, who led the investigation.

"When Smith finally realised there was no chance of reconciliation, he strangled her with plastic cable ties, killing her and her unborn baby daughter."

Judge Gratwicke said: "This was a brutal and merciless killing but she put up a spirited defence as you obviously set about taking her life.

"She must have been absolutely terrified as you placed those ties around her neck."

Image copyright Essex Police
Image caption The judge said Ms Parker "must have been terrified" when Smith placed cable ties around her neck

Ms Parker's body was found in the bath at her flat in Booth Place on 17 July 2015.

The court was told she was buried with her baby - a daughter she was planning to call Charmaine - in her arms.

During the sentencing hearing, a statement was read out from Ms Parker's partner at the time of her murder by Smith.

Shane Anderson, the father of her unborn baby, said: "My whole world stopped. I've been to her grave every day."

Image caption Maria Fowkes, a friend of Ms Parker, said child destruction laws needed to be reconsidered

Smith could not be charged with child destruction because legally Ms Parker was not sufficiently close to giving birth at six months pregnant.

Her friend and former colleague, Maria Fowkes, told the BBC she believed the government should reconsider laws around child destruction in such circumstances.

"My only disagreement is that he wasn't tried for double murder.

"The government seriously needs to take a look at the law," she said.

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