Man to be sentenced for ‘disturbing’ murders of wife and pensioner

Michael Drummond, PA South East Correspondent
·2-min read

A man who killed his wife and a pensioner during a “psychotic episode” will be sentenced later.

Daniel Appleton, 38, bludgeoned the two women to death in a “fast-moving, alarming, disturbing, terrifying incident” days before Christmas 2019.

The loss of beloved schoolteacher Amy Appleton, 32, and brave passer-by Sandra Seagrave, 76, who rushed to her aid, shocked the small village of Crawley Down, West Sussex.

Daniel Appleton had denied two charges of murder but was found guilty following a trial in December last year.

He is due to appear at Lewes Crown Court on Monday for sentencing.

The horrific incident unfolded on December 22 with Appleton chasing his wife out of their home and attacking her on their driveway, the trial heard.

Ms Seagrave, who was well-known for walking her around the village, saw what was happening and hurried over, using her walking stick to assist her.

Despite being less than five feet tall, she bravely intervened by speaking to Appleton in an effort to protect Mrs Appleton.

It was then, prosecutors said, that Appleton, “intent on murder”, turned his aggression towards the vulnerable pensioner and murdered her with her own walking stick.

Daniel Appleton court case
Daniel Appleton, 38, who was found guilty of murdering his wife and a pensioner in a “fast-moving, alarming, disturbing, terrifying incident” days before Christmas last year (Sussex Police/PA)

He then returned to his wife, a highly regarded teacher at the local Copthorne Junior School, and proceeded to bludgeon her to death with it too.

Appleton then went back into the house and attempted to take his own life, the trial heard.

In a statement released after the guilty verdict, Mrs Appleton’s family said: “Never a day goes by that we don’t miss and think of our beautiful, kind, caring daughter, sister and stepsister.

“Amy will live on in our minds and in our hearts, and will always be missed by the many people, colleagues and school children that she knew and who loved her.”

Ms Seagrave’s family described her as a “lady of old-fashioned values who was a true character”.

They added in their statement: “Her tragic death is something that is almost impossible to come to terms with.”

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