Controlling boyfriend left strangled partner in her bath for weeks while he stole from her house

Tony Brooks has been jailed for life. (Reach)
Tony Brooks has been jailed for life. (Reach)

A 'sadistic' man who strangled his girlfriend to death with an HDMI cable and left her body in a bath for seven weeks has been jailed for life.

Tony Brooks, 36, from Wakefield, will spend at least 24 years and nine months of his life in prison for the murder of his girlfriend.

Kirstie Ellis's body was not found for more than seven weeks after her death until Brooks told police about the murder 25 March.

During that time Ellis's body was left upstairs in her bath at her home in Stanningley.

He returned to the house several times to steal her belongings so he could sell them. He also stole over £1,500 from her bank account.

Judge Bayliss KC, sentencing at Leeds Crown Court on 3 November, said he was satisfied Brooks had been "controlling and manipulative" of Ellis and had subjected her to domestic violence before he killed her.

Brooks had also begun a relationship with another woman and once had her drive him to Ellis's house.

Once there, Brooks is thought to have launched an attack on Ellis that left blood spattered around her living room, prosecutor Christopher Moran told the court.

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Kirstie Ellis was 35 at the time she died. (Reach)
Kirstie Ellis was 35 at the time she died. (Reach)

In a brief lull, Ellis went upstairs and got in the bath, but Brooks fetched a dressing gown cord and HDMI cable and strangled her to death with them while stuffing two socks and a lint roller into her throat.

Moran described Kirstie's death as "particularly painful, torturous, and frightening", arguing Brooks' behaviour may perhaps be described as "sadistic".

He added that Brooks had demonstrated "a complete lack of remorse" in his actions after Ellis's death.

In March, he was being interviewed by West Yorkshire Police in relation to a burglary, when he told detectives that he knew of a murder committed by a drug dealer at Ellis's home.

A murder investigation was launched when officers found Ellis's body on 25 March.

Brooks originally tried to blame her murder on others and pleaded guilty only to manslaughter at a pre-trial hearing in April but later admitted to the murder.

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Kirstie Ellis's house, where her body was discovered. (Reach)
Kirstie Ellis's house, where her body was discovered. (Reach)

Judge Bayliss described Brooks' actions as "abhorrent" as he delivered his sentencing remarks, saying: "I'm quite sure your expression of remorse is disingenuous."

Ellis's younger sister Hannah Kitson read out a victim impact statement to the court describing the devastating effects on her family.

She described Ellis as "a loving and caring person. She had a heart of gold," Kitson continued. "Which was full of love. A love she shared with everyone she could."

Her parents Vicky and John also issued a statement, saying: "We extend our thanks to the police officers who worked closely with the family for their care and attention to detail, and for keeping us informed of developments in the case as best as they possibly could.

They added: "Our daughter Kirstie was a beacon of light to all those who were fortunate enough to have known her and who wanted to raise the awareness of domestic abuse after suffering through it herself."