Life for wife-killer enraged by Facebook change

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The Independent Online

A man who murdered his estranged wife after becoming "enraged" when she changed her marital status to single on Facebook was beginning a life sentence in prison today.

Edward Richardson, 41, was convicted of killing 26-year-old Sarah Richardson in a "frenzied and brutal attack" at her parents' home in Biddulph, Staffordshire, on May 12 last year.



Richardson, of Mayfield Road, Biddulph, was given a minimum term of 18 years in jail by a judge at Stafford Crown Court yesterday after a jury found him guilty of murder.



Fiona Cortese, from the Crown Prosecution Service, Staffordshire, said Richardson went to his in-laws' home, where his wife had been living since their separation in April 2008, after she failed to reply to his text messages following her change in status on social networking website Facebook.



She said: "Richardson became enraged when Sarah changed her marital status on Facebook to single and decided to go and see her as she was not responding to his messages.



"He gained entry by breaking the front door window and made his way into the property.



"Once inside he found Sarah in her bedroom and subjected her to a frenzied and brutal attack with a knife and then attempted to take his own life."



Mrs Richardson's parents, Beryl and Alan Boote, said their daughter's death had "devastated" the family.



In a statement released by police following yesterday's verdict, they said: "There simply aren't the words to describe how Sarah's death, and the awful way in which she died, has affected us. We all miss her so much.



"We're devastated and our lives will never be the way they were.



"It is important that we get justice for the taking of Sarah's life and we hope that Richardson will be an old man before he's ever allowed out of prison.



"Sarah was the loveliest daughter anyone could wish for. She was honest, loyal and sweet and everyone loved her.



"She loved all of her family to bits and to us she will always be precious and special."



Detective Inspector Andy Wall, from Staffordshire Police's Major Investigations Department, said: "She had decided that her marriage to Edward Richardson was over but this was clearly something he could not accept.



"The consequence was that Sarah lost her life in a brutal attack at her husband's hands in her family home.



"The verdict cannot bring Sarah back but we hope that it gives her family some form of comfort."