Brutal killer tortured and murdered auntie and grandmother at Derbyshire home

A mentally-ill killer drowned his auntie and strangled his grandmother to death at his auntie's home in Shirebrook.

Friday, 18th November 2016, 3:45 pm
Updated Tuesday, 22nd November 2016, 12:07 pm
Julie Hill (left), 51, and her mother Rose Hill, 75
Julie Hill (left), 51, and her mother Rose Hill, 75

Nottingham Crown Court heard today, Friday, November 18, how Christopher Whelan, 21, of Dransfield Road, Sheffield, killed Julie Hill, 51, and her mother Rose Hill, 75, whose bodies were found by the emergency services at Julie Hill’s house on Station Road, Shirebrook , on February 26.

Whelan pleaded not guilty to two counts of murder but pleaded guilty to two counts of manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility due to his mental status which was accepted by the CPS and Judge Mrs Justice Carr DBE.

Prosecuting barrister Michael Evans QC said Julie Hill’s son Liam Parker was the first to find her body shortly before paramedics arrived.

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Police investigated the crime scene in Station Road, Shirebrook for days afterwards.

Mr Evans QC said: “Julie Hill’s body was found by her son face down in a bath full of water which was still running.

“Rose Hill’s body was found at the base of steps in the cellar. Post mortem results indicated that they had been subjected to pro-longed and particularly brutal attacks. The attacks were to some extent planned and sustained and brutal. There was a clear intention to kill both victims.”

Post mortem results revealed that Julie Hill had suffered wounds on her fingers and forearms and puncture wounds, bruising and lacerations and a tooth had become lodged in her throat and Mr Evans said she had been drowned.

Rose Hill, of St Francis Close, Crosspool, Sheffield, died from strangulation, according to post mortem results, with bruising around her throat and other injuries to her face, arm, hand and legs and a laceration to her forearm.

Police investigated the crime scene in Station Road, Shirebrook for days afterwards.

The court heard how Rose Hill was found near a chair which was dripping with blood and there were blood stains in both the bathroom and the cellar.

Mr Evans QC explained the defendant had been upset about his parents’ divorce and felt Julie and Rose Hill were responsible for the break-up of the family and he felt resentment towards them.

The court also heard how he had used cannabis and he admitted he had previously had dark thoughts about murder.

Mr Evans told the court Whelan had travelled from Sheffield and arrived at Shirebrook on the morning of February 25 with a plan to rob Julie Hill, and Rose Hill had been seen arriving afterwards.

Julie Hill’s son Liam Parker visited the property later on February 26 and discovered his mother’s body and paramedics were called and they discovered both bodies.

Whelan was arrested and charged days later after he had fled to London.

Mr Evans QC said Whelan had left a farewell note to his family and the defendant had called police from London days later and confessed before he was arrested.

He later told police he had strangled and drowned the victims and added that he was remorseful.

Mr Evans QC revealed Whelan had been armed with an axe and a knife during his time at Julie Hill’s home.

Mr Evans QC added: “It may well be Rose Hill was subjected to a savage attack while in a chair with a sock forced into her mouth involving an axe to injure and scare her and her wrist was severed at some point and the chair was tipped back and at a later stage she was strangled. That is why I suggest it was gratuitous violence and a savage and brutal attack.

“He punched Julie Hill to the extent that her tooth was lodged in her throat and he filled a bath and drowned her. Whether this was savage or brutal or gratuitous, these were sustained attacks.”

The court also heard how Julie Hill had been growing cannabis at her home to deal with depression and the defendant had previously assisted her and had spent a great deal of time at her home before.

In a psychiatric interview Whelan admitted he had demanded money from Julie Hill before killing her.

Psychiatric evidence also revealed how Whelan thought some of his fantasies about killing came from Satan and his long term use of cannabis had made things worse for him.

The court also heard how Liam Parker, 22, of Charnock Street, Sheffield, killed himself in April because he could not cope with what had happened.

Mr Evans QC said: “These events have lasting consequences and have had a devastating impact on the family.”

Defence barrister Michael Turner QC said Whelan suffers with an abnormality of the mind and he has admitted the killings and pleaded guilty at the first opportunity.

Judge Mrs Justice Carr DBE said: “These two ladies had an absolutely terrifying experience before they were actually killed.”

She adjourned the case until Monday, November 21, when Whelan is expected to be sentenced.