Tracey Woodford murder trial: Christopher May guilty
An ex-butcher who killed and dismembered a woman before carrying her severed head through a town to hide it has been found guilty of murder.
The mutilated body of Tracey Woodford, 47, was found in Christopher May's flat in the Graig area of Pontypridd, Rhondda Cynon Taff, in April.
The 50-year-old had admitted killing her but denied murder at Cardiff Crown Court.
Cries of "yes" came from the public gallery as the verdict was delivered.
Meanwhile, May sat expressionless in the dock.
It took a jury of six men and six women less than an hour to reach their verdict after a trial lasting more than a week.
In a written statement, Ms Woodford's family described May as a "monster".
They said: "We simply cannot understand how anyone can treat another human being in this way.
"His action on that night in April and over the following days with what he did to Tracey's body has destroyed us all.
"Our mother has nightmares most nights, waking up screaming Tracey's name, asking: 'Why would he do this to her?'"
"He didn't just kill Tracey that night, he killed part of us all."
Throughout the trial, May claimed he had either been acting in self defence or had lost control.
'Truly gruesome sight'
But prosecutors said the killing was motivated by a "perverted sexual desire" after the pair met at the Skinny Dog pub in the town on 21 April.
Some of Ms Woodford's remains were found at May's flat by two police officers carrying out routine inquiries three days after she had been reported missing.
Roger Thomas QC, prosecuting, said they were greeted by a "truly gruesome sight" after pulling back a shower curtain and discovering some of her body parts.
Her decapitated torso was recovered from a black bag in a kitchen cupboard and a right thumb was found in a handbag along with a purse with Ms Woodford's bank cards.
Her head was later discovered in an "underground chamber" of a storm drain at the Sardis Road rugby ground - home to Pontypridd RFC.
The jury was told Ms Woodford, who lived with her brother and mother, had been strangled by May, who was "determined and cold blooded".
A forensic pathologist also said the catalogue of injuries on Ms Woodford's remains suggested signs of a violent struggle.