Jealous gardener jailed for murdering lover

A gardener was jailed for life today for battering his lover to death in a jealous rage after finding out she was seeing another man.

Peter Ling, 50, was jailed for life with a minimum term of 18 years after a jury found him guilty of murdering horticultural lecturer Linda Casey, 54.

Mrs Casey's naked body was found in Banstead Woods, Surrey, on August 13 last year.

She had been struck several times in the face with a rock after they had sex in the woods.

Ling, of Wallington, Surrey, had denied murder, claiming manslaughter and blaming Mrs Casey for provoking him by making a remark about his penis being too small.

But the jury of five women and seven men rejected his claim by returning a majority verdict of 11-1 to find him guilty of murder.

Old Bailey Judge Giles Forrester told Ling: "You were jealous, jealous beyond measure."



Judge Forrester said married Ling suspected Mrs Casey was seeing another man after reading her emails.

He added: "She wanted to leave but you would not let her go.

"You pulled her to the ground and in that jealous rage, battered her to death.

"The callousness of taking your wife out to dinner on the very night you murdered your mistress, simply beggars belief."

The judge said Ling's actions in hiding the body under leaves, stealing her mobile and accusing Mrs Casey of provocation, were "heartless, devious and manipulative".

He had killed his lover in a "frenzied attack", said the judge.

Charlotte Evans, one of the victim's three grown-up daughters, paid tribute to her mother, who was a grandmother of seven, in a victim impact statement read out in court.

She said: "Our mum was the rock and foundation of our family. She reared us on her own and we became more like sisters and best friends. Mum was an integral part of our lives.

"She was young and had so much to live for. We had so many plans together and being denied the chance to say goodbye is hard to bear.

"Mum was our mentor. Her enthusiasm, her innocent down to earth view of life and her encouragement has been taken from us."

A family statement released by police said: "She was a passionate gardener and had opened up her own garden to raise money for charity.

"She held down three jobs and had two allotments where we could all spend time together as a family.

"Mum was extremely well educated and accomplished a degree in teaching in her spare time as well as working and being a great mum and nan.

"She was a romantic and loved all the classic novels, poetry and music. She would always be laughing and happy and was a flower child at heart. Her motto was live and let live."



The court heard Ling hid Mrs Casey's car and went on the run before her body was found five days after the attack.

He met Mrs Casey, who was estranged from her second husband, two years earlier at her evening classes at Sutton College.



Mrs Casey had been having an affair with married Ian Tolfrey since 2002 and ran her life and lovers on a "relatively strict schedule".



She would meet Mr Tolfrey at her allotment in South Croydon on Wednesdays and on Fridays would meet at various addresses.



She dated Ling on Thursdays and Saturdays.



Mrs Casey was besotted with Mr Tolfrey but regarded Ling as "a nice man who took her out to dinner and visited gardens together".



John Coffey QC, prosecuting, said: "Her romantic life was less than straightforward. She was conducting affairs with two men at the same time.



"It is clear that Mrs Casey kept her two lovers in ignorance of each other.



"It is also clear that she strongly preferred Mr Tolfrey to the defendant."



Mrs Casey complained just before her death that Ling had become "strange" after finding out about Mr Tolfrey when he read her emails.



During a visit to the Royal Horticultural Society gardens in Wisley, Surrey, she denied his demands for sex in the bushes.



"He had discovered there was another man in her life. He had asked Mrs Casey to have sex in the bushes and she refused, he had burst into tears," said Mr Coffey.



He later sent a text message to her apologising for his behaviour and saying he hoped they would still be friends.



"She gave the impression she was finishing with the defendant because she was bored. She was upset he would contact Ian Tolfrey."



The day before he killed Mrs Casey, Ling's wife Deborah discovered his Facebook page but he denied having an affair when she confronted him.



"He told his wife he did not know if he wanted to stay married and it was like having the same meal every day - sometimes you feel like having something different," said Mr Coffey.



The following day, Mrs Casey agreed to meet Ling at the Ramblers Rest pub in Chipstead and then they went into Banstead Woods.



When her body was found, she had severe injuries to her head and face. Her clothes had been neatly folded in a tree.



Ling told police they had walked over a field to the woods and had sex "although she had been distant with him throughout the meeting".



He said she wanted to put her clothes back on but he refused and felt inadequate when she would not to answer his query about "how he compared to the other man in her life".



Mr Coffey said: "Something inside him snapped and he went crazy. He picked up whatever was lying around and hit her with it."



Ling took Mrs Casey's mobile phone and viewed sexually graphic footage of her and the other man.



Hours after the killing, Lind took his wife out to dinner to a Chipstead pub and said he wanted to stay with her.



A few days later, after Mrs Casey was reported missing, he rang his wife to confess to the affair, adding: "What if I killed her?"



Ling said he had been prepared to give up everything for Mrs Casey but found out about the other man when she forgot to log off a computer after viewing pictures of the Hampton Court flower show.



Emma de Waal, whose husband is a policeman, told the court her mother had love affairs during her two marriages.



Mrs Casey had been agitated when asked about what happened at Wisley.



"She said Peter asked her weird questions and demanded weird stuff like asking to go and have sex in the bushes," said Mrs de Waal.



"She just said no. They were in a nice well-to-do place. He sat on the bench crying.



"He told her she was very cold, she was like a closed book and never talked about anything."



Ling told the court he had enjoyed "spontaneous" sex in parks, woods "or wherever".



"I discovered a life I hadn't known for a long time. It was very, very passionate," he said.



Mr Tolfrey and Mrs Ling were not called as witnesses.

Suggested Topics
Arts & Entertainment
A stranger calls: Martin Freeman in ‘Fargo’
tvReview: New 10-part series brims with characters and stories

Arts & Entertainment
Shaun Evans as Endeavour interviews a prisoner as he tries to get to the bottom of a police cover up
Review: Second series comes to close with startling tale of police corruption and child abuse
Sport
Raheem Sterling and Luis Suarez celebrate during Liverpool's game with Norwich
football Another hurdle is out of the way for Brendan Rodgers' side
Arts & Entertainment
Charlotte Brontë, the English novelist, poet and the eldest of the three Bronte sisters who lived into adulthood, has been celebrated with a Google Doodle depicting her most famous novel, Jane Eyre.
arts + ents "Reader, they doodled her".

Arts & Entertainment
Schwarzenegger winning Mr. Universe 1969
arts + entsCan you guess the celebrity from these British Pathe News clips?
News
Portrait of Queen Elizabeth-II by David Bailey which has been released to mark her 88th birthday
peoplePortrait released to mark monarch's 88th birthday
Arts & Entertainment
The star of the sitcom ‘Miranda’ is hugely popular with mainstream audiences
TVMiranda Hart lined up for ‘Generation Game’ revival
Life & Style
The writer, Gerda Saunders, with her mother, who also suffered with dementia before her death
healthGerda Saunders on the most formidable effect of her dementia
Sport
Manchester United manager David Moyes looks on during his side's defeat to Everton
footballBaines and Mirallas score against United as Everton keep alive hopes of a top-four finish
Sport
Tour de France 2014Sir Rodney Walker on organising the UK stages of this year’s race
Arts & Entertainment
Jessica Brown Findlay as Mary Yellan in ‘Jamaica Inn’
TVJessica Brown Findlay on playing the spirited heroine of Jamaica Inn
News
YouTube clocks up more than a billion users a month
mediaEuropean rival Dailymotion certainly thinks so
Arts & Entertainment
The original design with Charles' face clearly visible, which is on display around the capital
arts + ents
Arts & Entertainment
‘Self-Portrait Worshipping Christ’ (c943-57) by St Dunstan
books How British artists perfected the art of the self-portrait
News
People
News
Sir Cliff Richard is to release his hundredth album at age 72
PEOPLE
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition iPad app?

Day In a Page

Rubin ‘Hurricane’ Carter: The man who could have been champion of the world - and the Bob Dylan song that immortalised him

The man who could have been champion of the world

Rubin ‘Hurricane’ Carter and the Bob Dylan song that immortalised him
Didn’t she do well?

Didn’t she do well?

Miranda Hart lined up for ‘Generation Game’ revival
The Middle East we must confront in the future will be a Mafiastan ruled by money

The Middle East we must confront in the future will be a Mafiastan ruled by money

In Iraq, mafiosi already run almost the entire oil output of the south of the country
Before they were famous

Before they were famous

Can you guess the celebrity from these British Pathe News clips?
Martin Freeman’s casting in Fargo is genius

Martin Freeman’s casting in Fargo is a stroke of genius

Series is brimming with characters and stories all its own
How I brokered a peace deal with Robert Mugabe: Roy Agyemang reveals the delicate diplomacy needed to get Zimbabwe’s President to sit down with the BBC

How I brokered a peace deal with Robert Mugabe

Roy Agyemang reveals the delicate diplomacy needed to get Zimbabwe’s President to sit down with the BBC
Video of British Muslims dancing to Pharrell Williams's hit Happy attacked as 'sinful'

British Muslims's Happy video attacked as 'sinful'

The four-minute clip by Honesty Policy has had more than 300,000 hits on YouTube
Church of England-raised Michael Williams describes the unexpected joys in learning about his family's Jewish faith

Michael Williams: Do as I do, not as I pray

Church of England-raised Williams describes the unexpected joys in learning about his family's Jewish faith
A History of the First World War in 100 moments: A visit to the Front Line by the Prime Minister's wife

A History of the First World War in 100 moments

A visit to the Front Line by the Prime Minister's wife
Comedian Jenny Collier: 'Sexism I experienced on stand-up circuit should be extinct'

Jenny Collier: 'Sexism on stand-up circuit should be extinct'

The comedian's appearance at a show on the eve of International Women's Day was cancelled because they had "too many women" on the bill
Cannes Film Festival: Ken Loach and Mike Leigh to fight it out for the Palme d'Or

Cannes Film Festival

Ken Loach and Mike Leigh to fight it out for the Palme d'Or
The concept album makes surprise top ten return with neolithic opus from Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson

The concept album makes surprise top ten return

Neolithic opus from Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson is unexpected success
Lichen is the surprise new ingredient on fine-dining menus, thanks to our love of Scandinavian and Indian cuisines

Lichen is surprise new ingredient on fine-dining menus

Emily Jupp discovers how it can give a unique, smoky flavour to our cooking
10 best baking books

10 best baking books

Planning a spot of baking this bank holiday weekend? From old favourites to new releases, here’s ten cookbooks for you
Jury still out on Manchester City boss Manuel Pellegrini

Jury still out on Pellegrini

Draw with Sunderland raises questions over Manchester City manager's ability to motivate and unify his players