Kelly Pearce death: Man jailed for 'sadistic' murder

image copyrightEssex Police
image captionKelly Pearce had been stabbed 40 times, Chelmsford Crown Court heard

A man has been convicted of the murder of a woman who was stabbed multiple times and bludgeoned with a claw hammer in an attack "bordering on sadism".

Kelly Pearce, 36, was stabbed in the face and neck 40 times and suffered skull and brain damage in the assault.

Anthony Ayres, 49, of Fairlop Avenue in Canvey, was found guilty of her murder at Chelmsford Crown Court.

The judge said it was an attack of "extreme brutality".

The court heard Ayres launched a "frenzied attack" on Ms Pearce on 19 November, leaving her with fatal neck wounds.

Cairns Nelson QC, prosecuting, said Ms Pearce, of North Avenue, was murdered in the bathroom of a flat belonging to one of her friends, Joseph Withers.

image copyrightEssex Police
image captionAnthony Ayres denied murder and claimed he found Ms Pearce after the attack

Ayres told the court he was not in a relationship with Ms Pearce but they had casual sex.

Judge Maura McGown told him: "Kelly's life was blighted by drugs in recent years, but we heard she was fun, kind and with a warm-hearted personality.

"You set about an attack of extreme brutality bordering on sadism".

'Huge void'

In a statement read out in court, Ms Pearce's mother, Lynn Wallings said her life had been "shattered forever" on the her daughter was killed.

She said she now found it "difficult to smile, laugh or live with any sense of happiness".

With regards to Ms Pearce's son, she said: "I don't know how Josh will ever come to terms with the death of his mum an I know there will be a huge void in his life.

"Instead of being with her laughing and asking for her guidance, he will now only have memories."

image copyrightEssex Police
image captionKelly Pearce was a mother of one

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