'Something snapped in broken' Derbyshire killer Rhys Hancock who murdered his estranged wife and her new lover on New Year's Day
Rhys Hancock was sentenced to a minimum of 31 years for the murder of his 39-year-old wife Helen, and her 48-year-old lover Martin Griffiths on New Year’s Day, when he appeared before Derby Crown Court on Thursday, October 1.
Hancock had been forced to move out of the home they had shared in New Zealand Lane, Duffield, near Belper, following an alleged assault in October 2019, and had been bailed to his mother’s home in Etwell Derbyshire.
The court heard that in the days leading up to the murders, Hancock, 40, had paid visits to relatives of his estranged wife trying to find out who her new lover was, and had also contacted Mr Griffith’s former partner trying to establish where he lived.
He had later tracked him down to his home in Mickleover, Derby, and taken a photograph of his wife’s car parked on his drive, the court heard.
Mitigating, Clive Stockwell QC said: “He was trying to get himself into a better place, hoping that if he could get himself right he might be able to salvage his marriage.
“That was his desire to reunite with his wife and to reunite with his family. His whole adult life had been devoted to his wife and to his children. His wife was in his home, with his children, with another man.
“Martin Griffith was not at fault and neither was Mrs Hancock. He saw himself as replaced, generating introspective thoughts, and thereafter clear rage at others for the thoughts he was having. Something snapped and he clearly exploded in rage. He was a broken man.”
Character witnesses for Hancock described him as a caring and helpful young man, passionate about teaching and working in special educational needs, but something had changed in 2009, the court heard.
The court was told Hancock had been the repeated victim of a serious crime that allegedly took place in 2009 and he made his disclosure in 2018.
A case was brought against the alleged perpretrator but the case was not proven by the Crown, Mr Stockwell said.
The court heard the alleged crime left the defendant with anxiety, depression and PTSD, causing deep problems with the marriage.
“There were arguments, there was confrontation and their marriage was falling apart,” he said.
On the night of the murders, Hancock had been out drinking in Etwell and had returned to his mother’s home in a morose state, the court heard.
He had told his mother that he was going to kill them on his return but had calmed down and his mother had gone to sleep. But he had woken her at 4am, told her he was going to kill them again, before searching her for her mobile phone, and leaving her house with her home phones and two kitchen knives, the court heard.
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