22-year minimum term for murderer

A "cynical and cruel" killer who murdered his 21-year-old wife then dismembered her with an electric saw and hid her remains was today told that he would stay in prison for at least 22 years.

Unemployed Nicky Ward, 29, was jailed after a jury at Norwich Crown Court convicted him of murdering pub waitress Emma Ward at the home they shared in Rockland St Peter, Norfolk, in spring last year.



Judge Peter Jacobs imposed a mandatory life term and said Ward could not be considered for parole until he had spent 22 years in jail.



Detectives said no trace of Mrs Ward had been found and her family urged Ward to reveal where he had hidden her remains.



Ward denied murder, telling jurors he killed his wife accidentally in self-defence during a row and had no memory of dismembering her or disposing of her remains.



Jurors were told that relatives raised the alarm after Mrs Ward - whose parents David and Elaine Noonan live in Rockland All Saints, Norfolk - vanished in late March 2010.



Ward told police that his wife had left him for another man but forensic investigations revealed that she had been killed in a bedroom, then dragged to the bathroom and cut up with a £55 saw bought in a local hardware store.



Inquiries showed that Ward had cleaned carpets and repainted - but not realised that his wife's blood had seeped through to floorboards and left a trail for scientists to follow.



The judge said the amount of blood found suggested that Ward had attacked his wife with a "sharp instrument".



"What happened after that was truly dreadful," he said. "You embarked upon a cynical and cruel effort to cover your tracks."



The judge said no-one could be sure when Mrs Ward died but evidence pointed to late March or early April.



Jurors were also told how evidence suggested that the Wards' marriage had broken down but only Ward knew what had caused the row which led to his wife's death.



They heard that the couple met in 2006 and married the following year.



"I cannot begin to imagine the pain and terror Emma must have felt. It is so unbearable to think about," said Mr Noonan after the hearing.



"We have not been able to grieve for Emma because we do not know where she is.



"If Nick Ward has any remorse he must do the decent thing and tell us where he has put our daughter."



Ward, whose family live in Basildon, Essex, showed little sign of emotion as the verdict was returned and the sentence passed.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

Mussolini tried to warn his ally of the danger of bringing the country to its knees. So should we, says Patrick Cockburn
Britain's widening poverty gap should be causing outrage at the start of the election campaign

The short stroll that should be our walk of shame

Courting the global elite has failed to benefit Britain, as the vast disparity in wealth on display in the capital shows
Homeless Veterans appeal: The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty

Homeless Veterans appeal

The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty
Prince Charles the saviour of the nation? A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king

Prince Charles the saviour of the nation?

A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king
How books can defeat Isis: Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad

How books can defeat Isis

Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad
Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

She may be in charge of minimising our risks of injury, but the chair of the Health and Safety Executive still wants children to be able to hurt themselves
The open loathing between Barack Obama and Benjamin Netanyahu just got worse

The open loathing between Obama and Netanyahu just got worse

The Israeli PM's relationship with the Obama has always been chilly, but going over the President's head on Iran will do him no favours, says Rupert Cornwell
French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

Fury at British best restaurants survey sees French magazine produce a rival list
Star choreographer Matthew Bourne gives young carers a chance to perform at Sadler's Wells

Young carers to make dance debut

What happened when superstar choreographer Matthew Bourne encouraged 27 teenage carers to think about themselves for once?
Design Council's 70th anniversary: Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch

Design Council's 70th anniversary

Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch
Dame Harriet Walter: The actress on learning what it is to age, plastic surgery, and her unease at being honoured by the establishment

Dame Harriet Walter interview

The actress on learning what it is to age, plastic surgery, and her unease at being honoured by the establishment
Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

Critics of Tom Stoppard's new play seem to agree that cerebral can never trump character, says DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's winter salads will make you feel energised through February

Bill Granger's winter salads

Salads aren't just a bit on the side, says our chef - their crunch, colour and natural goodness are perfect for a midwinter pick-me-up
England vs Wales: Cool head George Ford ready to put out dragon fire

George Ford: Cool head ready to put out dragon fire

No 10’s calmness under pressure will be key for England in Cardiff
Michael Calvin: Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links