Jilted man found guilty of murder after beating his partner to death over affair

Anthony Davis beat his partner to death in the home they shared in South Normanton. Photo: Derbyshire Constabulary.
Anthony Davis beat his partner to death in the home they shared in South Normanton. Photo: Derbyshire Constabulary.

A jilted man has been found guilty of brutally murdering his partner after he had discovered she had been having an affair with a neighbour.

Nottingham Crown Court heard during a three-week trial which concluded today, Monday, July 15, how Anthony Davis, 39, of Alfred Street, South Normanton, beat 30-year-old Keely McGrath, to death on December 13, 2018.

Prosecuting barrister Michael Auty QC said: “The defendant, consumed by hatred, fuelled by alcohol and determined to execute revenge, brutally and determinedly murdered Keely McGrath, his partner.”

Mr Auty explained Keely McGrath, who suffered with mental health issues, anxiety, depression and self-harming problems, had sought comfort with another man.

Davis and Keely were friends with neighbours Neil Sharpe and Mandy Smith but Keely developed a relationship, according to Mr Auty, and had an affair with Mr Sharpe but they were spotted kissing by a work associate of Anthony Davis.

The court heard that once everyone knew of the affair Davis spent the evening of December 12 with friends Stephen and Michelle Kerry but returned home in the early hours of December 13.

Mr Auty said: “The prosecution say the only explanation for what took place is that this defendant, in anger and frustration, allowed his constant seething to fester and take hold and what he did is he went and executed the most brutal revenge.”

He said Keely’s bra was forcibly pulled apart and her breasts were bruised and there were cuts to her vagina and her left buttock after he said she had been attacked mainly in the bedroom.

He added that there was damage around the house and blood staining and a pair of scissors were discovered and a belt which he argued had both been used in the attack.

Mr Auty QC also said Keely McGrath had been repeatedly punched, kicked, stabbed and beaten and had sustained a fractured skull and ribs, had suffered two collapsed lungs and had cuts to her vagina and buttocks.

He added that Davis had appointed himself 'judge, jury and executioner'.

Davis tried to cover his tracks, according to Mr Auty QC, by calling Neil Sharpe and telling others Keely had cut herself and had fallen downstairs.

The court heard there had also been a prolonged dialogue between Keely’s family and the defendant by texts.

But Mr Auty QC said it was not until Davis’s friends Stephen and Michelle Kerry visited him at Alfred Street that they found Keely lifeless on the settee and an ambulance was called.

Paramedics certified Keely McGrath as dead shortly afterwards on December 13, 2018, and police were alerted and her death was described as suspicious.

The cause of death, according to Mr Auty QC, has been given as a result of chest and head injuries.

Davis, who ran haulage and plant hire businesses, had pleaded not guilty but was found guilty by a jury of murder.

Judge Timothy Spencer QC sentenced Davis to a minimum of 24 years of custody.

Speaking after the sentencing, Detective Inspector Toby Fawcett-Greaves, of Derbyshire police, said: “Keely McGrath was an excellent mother, and she loved her children dearly. She was murdered in her own home by Anthony Davis. Following a brutal attack, Davis went on to claim Keely had caused her own injuries.

“I am extremely relieved that Davis, a dangerous man, has now been convicted and will spend many years in prison as a result of his crime.

“My thoughts first and foremost are for Keely’s family and friends. Although no sentence will heal such a wound, I hope it goes some way to giving them a sense that justice has been done. Their trust in our detectives and staff, their patience with our investigation, and their faith in what we put before the jury have been unfaltering.

“They have endured terrible accounts and seen shocking images relating to Keely’s ordeal, and they have conducted themselves throughout with absolute dignity, and I am pleased we have been able to achieve this result for them.

“I am also relieved for the officers and staff involved in this investigation. No murder investigation is easy or straightforward, and this was particularly challenging in the sense that we were dealing with the death of a woman with young children, killed at the hands of a man she should have been able to trust.

“The tenacity and the professionalism of the officers and staff involved is what has led us to where we are today, with Anthony Davis being brought to justice and now behind bars."