Kevin Ashton was found guilty of the murder of his partner (Image: Merseyside Police)
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Kevin Ashton, 45, murdered Helen Joy, 54, and left her lying on a mattress with a brown squirrel cuddly toy, a bottle of Frosty Jack’s cider and a photo of her former pet dog in her hands. He denied murder but yesterday a jury took just two hours and 23 minutes to convict the yob, who now faces a lengthy spell behind bars.
A court heard Ashton left Ms Joy lifeless on the bed and then went to buy some cannabis.
She had suffered extensive bruising to the neck and head, a bleed on the brain, broken nose and neck bones, 14 broken ribs and shearing of her scalp and upper gum away from her skull and jaw respectively.
Ashton claimed he woke to find his partner dead in their home in Leasowe, Merseyside, on Monday February 1 but officers investigated and found Ashton ” had literally been battered [her] to death”.
And jurors at Liverpool Crown Court heard the monster had three previous convictions for common assault against Ms Joy, in 2015, 2018 and 2019.
He’ll be jailed for murder on November 12, Liverpool Echo reports. He gave a two-finger ‘peace’ sign to his mum and sister when his sentencing was adjourned.
Mum-of-three Helen Joy suffered 121 external injuries (Image: Merseyside Police)
But David McLachlan, QC, prosecuting, said: “Helen Joy had literally been battered to death by Kevin Ashton. The man who shakes his head in the dock today.”
He said the couple were alcoholics and neighbours regularly heard them shouting at each other, but in the days before her death, only heard Ashton yelling.
The jury heard evidence from a friend of both parties, who said she witnessed Ashton jab an empty cider bottle in frail Ms Joy’s eye in July 2019, after his victim revealed he had been assaulting her for eight years.
Mr McLachlan said evidence suggested Ashton killed her either on Friday January 29 or Saturday January 30, before going to buy cannabis on the Sunday.
The court heard Ashton told his cannabis dealer “The Mrs is dead” but ignored his advice to call the police or an ambulance.
Police arrested Ashton at his mum Linda Ashton’s home in Widnes, Merseyside, at midday on February 1, where they found him drinking alcohol from a mug
He later moaned: “My f***ing bird is dead, and I’m getting the blame for it now.”
Merseyside Police cordon the crime scene (Image: Liverpool Echo)
Ashton claimed Ms Joy caused the injuries to herself and he tried to stop her, before insisting during a series of interviews that she had been falling over for about two years, including 10 to 15 times in the last two months.
He told police the squirrel and the dog photo “meant everything to her”, but accepted: “It looks dead dodgy now.”
A Home Office pathologist said some of Ms Joy’s injuries could relate to falling, but overall the pattern indicated a “violent, recent and life threatening blunt force assault, which involved blows to her head and also to her neck”.
Dr Paul Johnson found the cause of death was “multiple injuries with terminal hypothermia”.
Mr McLachan suggested Ashton was responsible for a series of attacks in the days and hours leading up to Ms Joy’s death.
He said: “And what did he do about it, as she was so poorly, lying on the floor injured? What did he do? Simply, he did nothing.”
Ashton told the jury that when he discovered Ms Joy’s body, he just “hugged her and cried”, before he went to buy cannabis.
He claimed he put her to bed with a duvet over her and the items next to her body because “I wasn’t leaving her on the floor like nothing”.
Ashton said Ms Joy was the “best thing in my life” and he remained in love with her, before denying Mr McLachlan’s suggestion that he had “bullied her”.
However, the jury rejected his claims.
Judge Brian Cummings, QC, said Ashton will be sentenced on November 12 and remanded him in custody until that date.
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