Man who murdered wife on wedding night and stuffed body into suitcase jailed for 21 years

·2-min read

A man who murdered his wife on their wedding night and stuffed her body into a suitcase has been jailed for life with a minimum term of 21 years.

Thomas Nutt, 46, killed Dawn Walker, 52, just hours after they exchanged vows in October last year.

Her body was found in a field four days later. It had been stuffed into a suitcase and dumped in the bushes behind the couple’s West Yorkshire home.

Nutt had stored the body in a cupboard before trying to dispose of it, his murder trial heard.

Thomas Nutt, 46, admitted manslaughter but was found guilty of murder (PA)
Thomas Nutt, 46, admitted manslaughter but was found guilty of murder (PA)

Sentencing Nutt on Friday, Judge Rose said: “There can be no doubt Dawn Walker was subject to domestic violence... I am not inclined to accept you are genuinely remorseful for what you have done.”

He added: “Dawn Walker died because you are a bully, used to controlling and manipulating women. I am quite sure you dominated her with your controlling behaviour and this culminated in unjustifiable violence on 27 October, as a consequence of which, she lost her life at your hands.”

During this trial, jurors were told that Nutt admitted the manslaughter of his wife on the basis that “he did not intend to cause her really serious harm at the time at which he killed her”.

However, a jury at Bradford Crown Court found him guilty of murder after just three hours of deliberation.

The court heard that Nutt had called the police on 31 October last year, telling them that his wife had gone missing after leaving their home in Shirley Grove, Lightcliffe. He then appeared to mount a search for her.

Prosecuting lawyers said the “harsh and stark reality” was that the defendant “knew perfectly well that her body was lying dead in a cupboard at the marital home”.

CCTV footage shown during the trial showed Nutt wheeling a suitcase out of the back of his house and into nearby bushes just as a police officer arrived at his front door to follow up on his missing person’s report.

Walker’s body showed that she had suffered significant neck injuries, the court heard, which indicated that there had been “a forceful application of pressure to her neck”.

Witnesses told the trial that the couple had had a “troubled” relationship. One neighbour said he went round to their house two months before their wedding after he heard screaming.

Nutt told the neighbour that Walker was having an asthma attack but she shouted out: “Don’t believe him, he’s lying, he’s trying to kill me,” the court heard.