26 years for stabbing mum and baby

A bar manager who murdered his girlfriend and their 10-month-old daughter in a "sustained and fearsome" knife attack will spend at least 26 years in prison, a judge said today.

Anthony Marsh plunged the weapon into half-naked Stephanie Bellinger, 24, more than 30 times as she slept in the bedroom of their home in Totton, Hampshire, in February.



He was jailed for life yesterday after being found guilty by a jury of the two murders. The term set by Mr Justice Holroyde is the minimum he will serve before he can be eligible for parole.



The prosecution said the killing of receptionist Miss Bellinger had "powerful elements of sexual motivation and revenge" after Marsh said he heard voices in his head to kill them both.



Their daughter Lili Marsh was stabbed once through the head as she lay on the same bed.

















The judge called the murders "deliberate, dreadful and selfish" as Marsh rocked his head while sitting in the dock.

He told the court that the surviving child Marsh left locked in the house for more than 24 hours aged just two-and-a half when he fled the scene faced a life as "an orphan of one parent by the crime of another".



He said the youngster had been left in a "scene of dreadful bloodshed" and he had been in the room with the bodies.



"He probably took the cordless telephone to his dead mother as it rang as family tried to contact her," the judge told the court.



He said it was an inescapable inference from the evidence that Marsh deliberately left the body of Miss Bellinger in such a way, with the knife plunged into her mouth and half-naked, to leave "a most dreadful scene for whoever found the bodies".



"You must have known that it was likely that first to see the bodies would be a close family member - probably Stephanie's mother.



"She and Stephanie's sister have to live with the loss of two loved ones but also with the memory of finding the bodies. For a mother and sister to find a loved one in such a position is truly appalling.



"As an intelligent man, I can only conclude you must have thought about that at some stage.



"It was, in my view, an act of selfishness to do nothing," he said.













In mitigation, the judge said he took into account Marsh's age and, to a lesser extent, his abnormality of mind. He said he readily accepted that he loved his girlfriend of four years and his children.

He said the explanation for the murders was rooted in the flawed character of Marsh, who failed to cope with his responsibilities.



The Winchester Crown Court jury heard during the two-week trial that Marsh suffered from bipolar disorder and the family were in £13,000 debt, partly because he lost his job after he stole from a pub he worked in.



He often fled the family home and went to other cities, sleeping rough before handing himself in at hospitals.



Marsh told police he heard voices telling him to kill his girlfriend and daughter. He did not harm his son because he was able to resist the voices, he told police.



He said he counted to 50 several times before he started the attack but he continued as Miss Bellinger screamed and tried to fend off the blade. He then killed Lili.



Miss Bellinger's mother Elizabeth Bellinger and her elder sister Ruth Goody discovered the "truly distressing scene" when they broke in.



Her family were in the public gallery as the minimum term was set.



Christopher Parker QC, prosecuting, said during the trial: "He (Marsh) said in the week of the killings he had wished he didn't have to worry about Stephanie. He said voices had been telling him he should kill Stephanie."



The barrister said it was not a mercy killing, but one that had sexual elements to it.



The jury was shown distressing images of the scene and Mr Parker told them the body of Miss Bellinger had been "left as if she was a victim of a sexual assault" and it was "indicative of a sexual type of killing and not consistent with a mercy killing".



Voices
On the last day of campaigning before the polling booths open, the SNP leader has written to voters in a final attempt to convince them to vote for independence
scotland decidesIs a huge gamble on oil keeping First Minister up at night?
Arts and Entertainment
Rosalind Buckland, the inspiration for Cider with Rosie died this week
booksBut what is it like to be the person who inspires a classic work of art?
Life and Style
techApple has just launched its latest mobile operating software – so what should you do first?
News
A male driver reverses his Vauxhall Astra from a tow truck
newsThe 'extremely dangerous' attempt to avoid being impounded has been heavily criticised
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Arts and Entertainment
Lionel Messi in action for Barcelona
filmSo what makes the little man tick?
Arts and Entertainment
tvReview: An undercooked end (spoiler alert)
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Pharrell dismissed the controversy surrounding
musicThe singer said 'the last thing I want to do is degrade'
Sport
Cesc Fabregas celebrates his first Chelsea goal
footballChelsea vs Schalke match report
Arts and Entertainment
Toby Jones (left) and Mackenzie Crook in BBC4’s new comedy The Detectorists
tvMackenzie Crook's 'Detectorists' makes the hobby look 'dysfunctional', they say
Life and Style
fashion

Olympic diver has made his modelling debut for Adidas

News
i100
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Maths Teacher

£110 - £200 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Secondary Maths Teacher for spe...

Maths Teacher

£90 - £160 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Secondary Science Teacher (mater...

Maths Teacher

£110 - £200 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Secondary Maths Teacher for an ...

Maths Teacher

£22000 - £37000 per annum: Randstad Education Leeds: A West Yorkshire School i...

Day In a Page

Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week