Charlotte Collinge convicted of murdering husband in savage attack

 

A woman and two men she met in a pub have been found guilty of the murder of her husband, a "generous and caring" father who died after suffering more than 40 injuries in a savage attack.

Nottingham Crown Court heard that Charlotte Collinge, 45, took Stephen Shreeves, 40, and Kelvin Dale, 27, back to her home on the promise of sex, to kill her husband of 14 years, Clifford Collinge.

Mr Collinge was found dead on the kitchen floor of the couple's home in Mansfield, Notts, with 46 separate injuries.

Prosecutor Peter Joyce QC told the court that a clamp had been used to attack 61-year-old Mr Collinge, who was found lying dead, surrounded by a pool of blood, in the house on Sandy Lane on October 8 last year.

Following a four-week trial, a jury of five women and seven men found Collinge, Shreeves and Dale guilty of Mr Collinge's murder.

A fourth man, Robert Proud, 36, was cleared of the charge.

The packed public gallery in the courtroom erupted in tears and cries of "Oh God" as the jury returned its verdicts for each of the defendants.

Many people sobbed as Mr Joyce read a statement to the court from 16-year-old Cristal, the daughter of Mr Collinge and his wife.

Miss Collinge, a student, described her father as "generous and caring" and said they had done everything together, and her father had meant the world to her.

"He was my hero in every way," she said.

"He was everything to me.

"In one night I lost my father, my mother, my home, my pets and all my belongings.

"How do you tell someone how it feels to lose your whole world in one go?"

During the trial Mr Joyce told the court that the couple, who had been together for 17 years in total, had a rocky relationship peppered with break-ups and reconciliations, and divorce had been discussed.

Collinge was arrested at the scene after claiming she returned home to find her husband on the floor, jurors heard.

Giving evidence to the court, Shreeves said he had never met Collinge before the night of the murder and she had started flirting with him as soon as he arrived at the pub.

He said he was aware of Collinge's reputation and that she had the nickname Charlotte the harlot.

He said there were rumours that she took men back to her house and had sex with them while her husband watched.

During the night, Shreeves and Dale, who both denied Mr Collinge's murder, snorted cocaine in the toilets of the bar and drank a number of pints.

He said Mrs Collinge invited them back to her house for sex and told them no one was at home.

"She behaved very sexually towards everyone.

"Someone said if you buy her half a lager she'll do anything, so I bought her two, to laughter from the group we were with," he said.

On approaching her house, Collinge had said she hated her husband and had asked them if they knew anyone who could kill him, Shreeves said.

In police interview, he also told officers she had said: "I want him dead."

He said: "We just laughed but then the penny started to drop that she was a little bit more dangerous than we first thought.

"I thought it was a set-up, a f****** honeytrap or something."

Among his many injuries, wealthy Mr Collinge suffered a head injury, fractured ribs and a collapsed lung.

In her statement to the court, Cristal, who was called "little princess" by her father, paid tribute to Mr Collinge, who she said was a talented musician and inspired her to play the guitar.

She added: "It's been nine months now and I'm starting to realise I might not ever get over losing my dad.

"He really was my whole world."

All three defendants showed little emotion as the jury returned its guilty verdicts.

They were remained in custody as the case was adjourned for sentencing on July 31.

Temporary Superintendent Kate Meynell, who led the investigation, said: "Clifford Collinge suffered a violent death in his own home following a frenzied, yet entirely unprovoked attack.

"Shreeves and Dale, at the behest of Mr Collinge's wife, took it upon themselves to carry out this wicked and senseless act, inflicting devastating injuries upon their victim.

"This was not only an act of violence, but one of betrayal on the part of Charlotte Collinge, the result of which has torn her own family apart.

"Our sympathies are very much with the relatives and friends of Mr Collinge, who have lost a loved one and seen someone they once trusted convicted for their part in his murder."

PA

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