Landlord guilty of freezer murder

A pub landlord who shot his partner and then concealed her body in a freezer has been found guilty of murder.

Michael Tucker, 50, had denied murdering his partner, Rebecca Thorpe, 28, at The Compasses Inn, Snettisham, Norfolk, in March last year.



But following a week-long trial at Norwich Crown Court, the jury returned their unanimous verdict after 45 minutes of deliberation. Mr Justice Nicol said he would pass sentence tomorrow morning.



The court had earlier heard that Tucker had fetched a shotgun owned by Miss Thorpe following an argument in which she threatened to leave him and prevent him from seeing his children from a previous marriage.



Tucker shot his victim in the back of the head while she was in the bath at their home above the pub. He left her in the bath for two days before moving her to a freezer in an out-house.







Tucker and Miss Thorpe were the landlords of the Compasses Inn at the time of the killing.



On March 23, an off-duty police officer who was passing the pub was called into the premises after being told that a body had been found in a freezer.



Earlier that day Tucker had told a friend: "Tell the police there is a shotgun under the bed and they will find her body in the freezer."



He later told police that on March 9, he had shot Miss Thorpe in the head with a shotgun while she lay in the bath.



Tucker appeared to continue living a normal life, running the business, employing staff and even having sex with another woman before fleeing to the Isle of Wight, where he was arrested for murder on March 23.



When he was arrested on suspicion of murder, he told officers: "It's not suspicion, I've already admitted it."



After the verdict, Detective Chief Inspector Jes Fry said: "We welcome the guilty verdict for murder and feel that the facts of the case show clearly that Tucker knew what he was doing and carried out a deliberate act.



"This was obviously a tragic loss for Rebecca's family and our thoughts are with them at this time.



"It is important to remember that this event was also a real shock to the local community, who are not used to such horrific incidents."



Tucker, who denied murder, did not give evidence during the trial.











Defence counsel Karim Khalil QC, who will complete his mitigation tomorrow, said his client had a history of depression and alcoholism. Throughout the trial he had claimed he had not intended to kill Miss Thorpe and said she provoked him.



There were cheers from the public gallery as the verdict was delivered.



Miss Thorpe's family issued a statement which said: "Becky was a bubbly sporty young woman whose life was callously and clinically taken from us.



"No amount of punishment will bring our daughter and sister back, but the memories and comfort we receive from the local people, clubs and charities that Becky had become involved with, have and will continue to help bring us to terms with our loss.



"Though now at rest Becky's name and memory will continue with charitable events organised in her name.



"We would like to thank the legal teams and jurors for ensuring that Mr Tucker received the sentence that he deserved, despite his feeble attempts to escape the full responsibility for his actions."

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

Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

Isis hostage crisis

The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

Cabbage is king again

Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
11 best winter skin treats

Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
Paul Scholes column: The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him

Paul Scholes column

The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

Frank Warren's Ringside

No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee