Family of murder victim struggles to find peace

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THE HEARTBROKEN family of a mum-of-three who was murdered by an ex-boyfriend has told how his imprisonment will bring them some peace of mind but will never bring back a beloved relative.

Lee Hendry, 52, of Brimington, Chesterfield, was stabbed through the neck and murdered by Alexander Burnett, 32, of Westlea View, Clowne, after the two were reunited during an evening at his home.

A Nottingham Crown Court trial jury found Burnett guilty of murder and he was given a life sentence of 22 years, on Wednesday, May 30, despite his claims that he had accidently stabbed her through the neck and killed her during a sex game that went wrong.

Karen Butcher, of Hollingwood, one of Lee Hendry’s sisters, said: “We’re pleased with the verdict and sentence but Lee’s never coming back. There is a bit more peace now. We’re supporting each other in the meantime and we’ve had fantastic support from the police.

“Life without Lee means there is always something missing. We’ve tried to to have family get-togethers but we miss her so much and we all think of her in our own ways all the time.

“I will not allow myself to have any feelings or waste any time thinking about Alexander Burnett when we just want to remember Lee and that goes for the whole family.”

Karen added that if anyone needed anything Lee was the first to step in and sister Maxine Bonser also said Lee was a loving and caring person who was devoted to her job as a care worker.

Judge Charles Haddon-Cave, who sentenced Burnett, recognised the devastating effect Lee Hendry’s death in September, last year, has had upon her family and friends and he praised relatives for showing great dignity throughout the six-day trial at the end of May.

He said Burnett, who has previous convictions for assaulting Lee Hendry and one of her sons as well as for GBH and robbery, had, “looked into her eyes and watched her life ebb away and took some pleasure in her death and showed not a shred of mercy or remorse”. The judge also felt the case was “characterised by a manifest, deliberate and chilling intent to kill”.

Mr Justice Haddon-Cave added: “Lee Hendry’s untimely death and the manner of it has deeply affected the family.

“Their quiet dignity throughout the trial has been admirable and their sentence will be a life sentence of loss.”

Mr Justice Haddon-Cave also commended Derbyshire Constabulary’s investigation and handling of the case.

Det Chief Insp Gary Cathcart said: “I hope the family of Lee Hendry can draw some comfort in the conviction and sentencing of Alexander Burnett.

“The minimum traiff of 22 years reflects the gravity of his actions and there is no doubt that an extremely dangerous man has been removed from our community.

“Lee’s family has acted with the utmost dignity whilst having to endure the full content of Burnett’s trial and our thoughts remain with them as they attempt to rebuild their lives.”