Ex-boyfriend on the run after former Blunkett aide found murdered

A murdered Red Cross worker and the ex-boyfriend suspected of killing her both worked for the Home Office, it emerged yesterday.

Martin Collett, 35, has been missing since his girlfriend, Angela Hoyt, 34, was found at the house they shared in Hatfield, Hertfordshire, at around 5.20pm last Tuesday. Police said she may have been killed up to two days earlier.

Ms Hoyt, a former aide to David Blunkett and Charles Clarke, reportedly first started seeing Mr Collett six years ago when they both worked for the Home Office. She was a junior member of the media team while he was employed in a private office role.

Ms Hoyt, who is Canadian, is thought to have split up with Mr Collett about six months ago. Her family have claimed the couple's relationship was abusive and that she had given him until the end of May to move out. She reportedly told Hertfordshire Police she was being harassed less than a week before her death.

Speaking to The Mail on Sunday from Ottawa, Canada, Ms Hoyt's twin sister, Ami Watanabe, said: "Martin had a terrible temper, and she wanted to make sure everything was legally recorded."

Speaking about the couple's relationship, she added: "They had fights, massive blow-ups. He pushed her and shoved her. Once she said he smacked her across the face. I saw the bruise a couple of days after.

"They'd break up but he was very manipulative and he'd persuade her to get together again. He'd say, 'Oh darling, I was such a fool. I'm sorry! How lovely you are. I am so proud of you'."

Ms Watanabe also alleged that Mr Collett had posted politically charged comments about Israel on his girlfriend's Facebook page while she was in Pakistan on a three-month Red Cross posting. She said that when her sister had returned on the Friday before her death, Mr Collett was in the house and refused to leave.

Ms Watanabe continued: "The police offered to physically remove him immediately from the house. But she told them she was determined to do things amicably. She said: 'He has nowhere to go.'

"She wanted to give him time to find somewhere to live and our father was going to wire her cash on Monday [23 May] so she could repay him money he had given her towards buying the house. She was supposed to give Dad her bank details last Monday. But none of us could reach her."

The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) has launched a probe into the response to Ms Hoyt's claims of harassment. IPCC commissioner Sarah Green said: "The IPCC is investigating Hertfordshire Police's response to a report of harassment made at Hatfield Police Station on the afternoon of 20 May 2011. The woman who made the allegation, Angela Hoyt, was subsequently murdered."

Ms Hoyt, from Windsor, Ontario, was well-travelled and came to England in 1999 to study for a journalism degree. After working for the Home Office, she joined the Red Cross in 2008 as a public affairs and communications adviser.

Mr Collett has had several different careers. After gaining a PhD in physics, he joined the civil service. He then went to medical school in Liverpool before abandoning his plans to train as a pilot. Unable to find work, he rejoined the civil service last year.

Detective Chief Inspector Mark Ross, who is leading the investigation, said: "My team are making a number of inquiries across the country to trace Martin as a matter of urgency."

Arts and Entertainment
The cast of The Big Bang Theory in a still from the show
tvBig Bang Theory filming delayed by contract dispute over actors' pay
Sport
England celebrate a wicket for Moeen Ali
sportMoeen Ali stars with five wickets as Cook's men level India series
News
peopleGuitarist, who played with Aerosmith, Lou Reed and Alice Cooper among others, was 71
Travel
travel
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Life and Style
food + drinkVegetarians enjoy food as much as anyone else, writes Susan Elkin
Arts and Entertainment
Harry Potter (Daniel Radcliffe), Hermione Granger (Emma Watson) and Ron Weasley (Rupert Grint)
newsBloomsbury unveils new covers for JK Rowling's wizarding series
News
scienceScientists try to explain the moon's funny shape
Sport
Usain Bolt confirms he will run in both the heats and the finals of the men's relay at the Commonwealth Games
commonwealth games
News
peopleHowards' Way actress, and former mistress of Jeffrey Archer, was 60
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

Save the tiger: The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

With only six per cent of the US population of these amazing big cats held in zoos, the Zanesville incident in 2011 was inevitable
Samuel Beckett's biographer reveals secrets of the writer's time as a French Resistance spy

How Samuel Beckett became a French Resistance spy

As this year's Samuel Beckett festival opens in Enniskillen, James Knowlson, recalls how the Irish writer risked his life for liberty and narrowly escaped capture by the Gestapo
We will remember them: relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War

We will remember them

Relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War
Star Wars Episode VII is being shot on film - and now Kodak is launching a last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Kodak's last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Director J J Abrams and a few digital refuseniks shoot movies on film. Simon Usborne wonders what the fuss is about
Once stilted and melodramatic, Hollywood is giving acting in video games a makeover

Acting in video games gets a makeover

David Crookes meets two of the genre's most popular voices
Could our smartphones soon be diagnosing diseases via Health Kit and Google Fit?

Could smartphones soon be diagnosing diseases?

Health Kit and Google Fit have been described as "the beginning of a health revolution"
Ryanair has turned on the 'charm offensive' but can we learn to love the cut-price carrier again?

Can we learn to love Ryanair again?

Four recent travellers give their verdicts on the carrier's improved customer service
Billionaire founder of Spanx launches range of jeans that offers

Spanx launches range of jeans

The jeans come in two styles, multiple cuts and three washes and will go on sale in the UK in October
10 best over-ear headphones

Aural pleasure: 10 best over-ear headphones

Listen to your favourite tracks with this selection, offering everything from lambskin earmuffs to stainless steel
Commonwealth Games 2014: David Millar ready to serve up gold for his beloved Scotland in the end

Commonwealth Games

David Millar ready to serve up gold for his beloved Scotland in the end
UCI Mountain Bike World Cup 2014: Downhill all the way to the top for the Atherton siblings

UCI Mountain Bike World Cup

Downhill all the way to the top for the Atherton siblings
Save the tiger: The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The big cats kept in captivity to perform for paying audiences and then, when dead, their bodies used to fortify wine
A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery all included in top 50 hidden spots in the UK

A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery

Introducing the top 50 hidden spots in Britain
Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

How a disease that has claimed fewer than 2,000 victims in its history has earned a place in the darkest corner of the public's imagination
Chris Pratt: From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

He was homeless in Hawaii when he got his big break. Now the comic actor Chris Pratt is Hollywood's new favourite action star