Former policeman guilty of murdering ex-wife at hair salon

 

A violent and controlling former policeman who stabbed his estranged wife to death at her high street hair salon has been found guilty of murder.

Ivan Esack, 38, knifed Natalie Esack, 33, up to 11 times in front of her horrified colleague because he could not cope with her being with someone else.

The 8in (20cm) blade bent and the tip broke off under the ferocity of the attack at Esack Hair and Beauty in High Street, Ashford, Kent, on April 30 last year.

Esack then turned to his estranged wife's colleague, Chelsea Ford, then 17, and said: "She deserved it, the bitch."

In the period before the killing, he had told Mrs Esack she was a "dead woman walking" and added: "Tick tock, tick tock."

At Maidstone Crown Court, the ex-Kent Police detective constable turned aspiring football agent, of Rosewood Drive, Ashford, was found guilty of murder after seven hours of deliberation following a three-week trial.

Esack, dressed in a black tie and grey suit, showed no emotion as the jury foreman delivered the verdict.

Friends and relatives of Mrs Esack yelled "yes" while some broke down in tears in the packed public gallery.

Outside the courtroom they hugged each other and patted each other on the back.

Judge Charles Byers said sentencing will take place on Monday morning.

He described the case as "difficult" for the jurors to sit through, and told Esack he had been convicted of a "serious" offence before sending him down.

Bisexual cocaine user Esack, who declined to give evidence at the trial, had admitted manslaughter, claiming his responsibility was diminished and that he was suffering from a mental condition.

He was said to have had a "narcissistic" personality and falsely boasted that through his footballing contacts he was friends with Manchester United's Sir Alex Ferguson and Rio Ferdinand.

Stockily built Esack, who claimed to have been rejected as a local Conservative Party candidate, had ideas of becoming prime minister and thought of himself as a James Bond-style figure.

It also emerged during the trial that he had an affair with a man. He once told Mrs Esack she should be tested for sexually transmitted diseases after disclosing the gay love affair to her, jurors heard.

Prosecutor Philip Bennetts QC said Esack was a "violent and controlling" man who, unable to deal with the separation, killed his estranged wife "because he didn't want her to be with anyone else".

Esack bought the knife from a Sainsbury's store in Ashford moments before he stabbed Mrs Esack for starting a relationship with Justin Khadaroo after they split up.

After buying the blade, CCTV footage showed him parking his car before he walked to the hair salon the couple set up in January 2008.

He made sure she was working that day by earlier telephoning the salon and asking Miss Ford, now aged 18, what time her first appointment was.

As Esack strolled in armed with the knife, Mrs Esack was on a computer at reception. He "mumbled something" before lashing out at her, sending blood flying up the walls.

He stabbed Mrs Esack between nine and 11 times, including in the neck and the chest, in an attack lasting about 20 seconds.

Defence-type injuries suggested she tried to fend off the repeated blows before falling to the floor.

Esack then walked over to Miss Ford and said: "She deserved it, the bitch." He strolled back out of the salon, paid for his car park ticket and drove home where he was later arrested on suspicion of murder.

During the trial, Miss Ford broke down in tears as she described the horror to jurors. After the stabbing, she said, he threw the blood-covered knife down in the salon and walked out "as if he didn't care".

Miss Ford dialled 999 and ran to the shop next door to summon help.

She said Esack was controlling, threatening and abusive towards his estranged wife who had been left with no confidence because of his behaviour towards her.

"He was just a horrible person," Miss Ford said. "Whatever she did was wrong. He had to be right. If she wanted to do something, she had to ask him."

After they split, Esack sent her texts calling her names, she told the jury. "He would send her horrible words. She had no confidence because of him."

Miss Ford also revealed that during a make-or-break holiday to Mexico, Esack told Mrs Esack he was in a relationship with a man named Louis.

"He said he would never love Nat the way he loved Louis," she said. Miss Ford told how, on another occasion, Esack came to the salon and told his wife she was a "dead woman walking" and added: "Tick tock, tick tock."

Miss Ford said: "He was always threatening to kill her. She always told me that if you don't laugh you cry, so she laughed about it."

One of her friends and colleagues, Rachael Beaumont, said the disclosure that he was involved with another man left Mrs Esack "mortified".

Another woman, Renee Stolten, who rented a room at the salon, told the jury: "Natalie told me that she was concerned for her health.

"She told me that Ivan had been sleeping with another man and that he said she should have sexual tests done, implying that he had something wrong, such as Aids."

The prosecution's psychiatrist agreed that Esack was suffering from a "narcissistic personality disorder" but disagreed that he had an abnormality of his mental function.

After he was arrested at his home at 10.40am on the day of the killing, Esack told officers: "She f***** me over. She drove me to it."

He admitted drinking three cans of Special Brew and some whisky and said he had "lost the plot". In a further interview, he told police: "The first words she said to me were 'Get out' and I just snapped."

The couple married in 2006 but by October 2011 they had split up.

During the attempt to revive their marriage in Mexico, he kicked her, causing bruising to her leg, Mr Bennetts told jurors.

By the end of February last year, their relationship was beyond repair and Mrs Esack left their home to live with her father. On February 15, Esack sent more than 40 text messages, saying he was going to kill her.

The day before the killing there were a series of phone calls between Mrs Esack, her estranged husband and her new partner.

The court heard that he responded by threatening to take Mrs Esack away, as well as issuing threats to kill her and Mr Khadaroo, whom she had known since 2007.

In one recorded message, Esack told her: "You're going to die babe. You are going to f***ing die. I hope you are happy." He added: "You are going to f***ing die so f***ing enjoy the f***ing time you have with him."

Esack said he had "nothing to lose" with no job and no career. In another exchange, he said: "I'm going to murder you, seriously. Is this what you want, is this what you f***ing want?"

In one message played in court, Mrs Esack told her estranged husband: "We are not a couple any more." He replied: "That's what you think."

In another exchange, Mrs Esack asked him: "What are my options?" Chillingly, Esack told her: "Death, death and death."

PA

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