Man changes plea to guilty over murder of his estranged wife

By Ben Mitchell, PA

A 28-year-old man has admitted the murder of his estranged wife who he stamped and kicked to death in a “jealous rage”, according to the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS).

Shaun Dyson changed his plea to guilty after he had given evidence in the witness box during the two-week trial at Winchester Crown Court.

The jury was told that Dyson killed 30-year-old Lucy-Anne Rushton in the early hours of June 23 by repeatedly jumping or stamping on her at the family house in Andover, Hampshire, while children were at the property.

Lucy-Anne Rushton was killed on June 23 (Family Handout/PA)

Giving evidence to the trial, Dyson, who had previously admitted manslaughter, said: “I feel broken, ashamed, devastated for Lucy, heartbroken for our family. It’s been six months and it doesn’t feel real.”

Simon Jones, prosecuting, said that there had been a history of domestic violence since the couple, who had known each other since being school friends, got married by eloping to Gretna Green in 2010 and he described their relationship as “toxic”.

He said that Dyson, who had already hit Ms Rushton on the evening before she died, had become “enraged” by a phone call she received from a man she had been in a relationship with.

He added: “There was no justification for blow after blow, kick after kick, stamp after stamp on Lucy. This was borne out of a jealous rage in a violent man.”

And a child witness described how the defendant had tried to force Ms Rushton into swallowing her wedding ring which she pretended to do but the ring was later found.

The prolonged fatal attack left Ms Rushton with 37 broken ribs, a fractured breastbone and collapsed lungs.

Mr Jones said that in February, Ms Rushton had raised concerns about the defendant and believed that he “had a bag ready with a change of clothes and weapons”.

He said that Ms Rushton’s mother had also witnessed attacks by Dyson on Ms Rushton including over Facetime.

Mr Jones continued: “The fact that Lucy had concerns for her life shortly before she was killed is a significant indication of the state of the relationship and the concern Lucy had of the defendant who could turn to violence on the most extreme scale with the most extreme consequences.”

Sharon Douglass, of the CPS, said of the fatal attack: “This was a brutal and extremely violent attack triggered by the jealousy of a man who had attacked her in the past.”

The prosecution showed the jury CCTV footage showing Dyson repeatedly spitting on Ms Rushton, kicking and punching her head into a wall at a hotel in September 2018.

Ms Douglass added: “The CPS presented evidence which showed the extent to which Dyson had previously assaulted Ms Rushton.

“The pattern, number and level of injuries show that Dyson intended to kill Lucy, or at the very least, cause her really serious harm.”

Dyson will be sentenced on Friday, December 20.