A jealous husband killed his wife after she changed her status from ‘married’ to ‘single’ on her Facebook profile, a British court heard yesterday.
Brian Lewis had become resentful at the amount of time his common-law wife Hayley Jones, 26, spent on the social networking internet site.
He finally snapped in the early hours of March 12 this year, stabbed her and strangled her to death, the jury was told.
He telephoned 999 but fled the murder scene, the home he shared with Miss Jones and their four children. He later drove to a nearby police station and gave himself up to officers.
It emerged that Lewis, 31, left the children – aged three to ten – in the house to discover the lifeless body of their mother in the living room.
In Cardiff Crown Court on Tuesday Lewis, of Phillipstown, New Tredegar, denied the murder of his partner. The jury was told that problems surfaced in their relationship shortly after Lewis lost his job.
Miss Jones, who had until then stayed at home to care for their children, went out and found work as a care assistant.
Prosecutor Mark Evans QC told the court that around the same time Miss
Jones had ‘started to expand her social horizons,’ adding: ‘She had begun spending a lot of time on the internet chat site Facebook.
‘Brian Lewis was to state in interview and to other people that she had been quite secretive about this. For example, preventing him from accessing the site and switching the computer off to prevent him from seeing any of the content.’
Ten days before her death, as their relationship deteriorated, Miss Jones changed her Facebook profile from ‘married’ to ‘single’. The lawyer continued: ‘She made it clear their relationship was over.
‘It is quite clear that Brian Lewis became quite anxious and suspicious of her internet activity.’
When interviewed by the police Lewis said he had accepted the breakdown of their relationship.
But the jury was told they would hear conflicting evidence from drinkers who overheard Lewis talking at the Phillipstown Social Club near his home four days before Miss Jones died.
On the evening of March 8 he was heard to say: ‘If I can’t have her, then no f****r else will because I will kill her first.’
Mr Evans told the court that far from accepting the split the defendant was ‘angry’.
After Lewis fled the scene the couple’s children – Jordan, Cory, Kian and Tia – came downstairs and tried to revive their mother and then covered up her body.
A post-mortem examination revealed Miss Jones had died of strangulation but it also emerged she had been stabbed in the chest.
The wound was described as ‘non-fatal’ because the path of the blade had been blocked by the victim’s rib cage.
‘The incident shows Hayley was lying down on the settee when this assault occurred,’ explained the prosecutor. ‘She could not have been on her feet fighting, throwing punches.’
Lewis told officers he had the knife in his hands when the pair began to scuffle because he had been ‘trimming his fingernails’.
Last year a husband is believed to have murdered his wife and then killed himself after she told friends via Facebook they were splitting up.
Tracey Grinhaff, 42, died from head injuries and her husband Gary, 41, was found dead in woodland near Barnsley, South Yorkshire.