Man who brutally murdered his girlfriend with crowbar jailed for life

Joe Gamp
Contributor, Yahoo News UK
Ben Topping was given a minimum of 20 years for beating Rosie Darbyshire to death (SWNS)

A man who killed his girlfriend with a crowbar and left her 'unrecognisable' has been jailed for life.

Ben Topping, 25, left Rosie Darbyshire, 27, with over 50 horrific injuries on her body in a 'savage and sustained' attack following an altercation on February 7.

Preston Crown Court heard how Topping had only been in a relationship with the single mother for a matter of weeks prior to her murder after reconnecting with the former college student via Facebook.

Sentencing him to a minimum of 20 years imprisonment, Judge Mark Brown said "It is difficult to envisage a more horrific attack on a defenceless person'.

Topping was sentenced at Preston Crown Court (GETTY_)

Judge Brown said that on February 7, 2019, Topping had been drinking gin and cherry shots at Rosie's home in Ribbleton, Lancsashire.

He left the address in the early hours of the morning, with the judge commenting "There had clearly been an altercation between you".

Topping was heard by a witness shouting at Rosie, threatening to punch "every car window in the street" if she didn't come to him.

She was heard to reply: 'Please don't hurt me'.

CCTV footage from a local shop showed Rosie run away, fall over, stand up, but then be deliberately tripped by Topping.

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He then struck her repeatedly to the head and face with a crowbar, he claimed he had removed from Rosie's jacket.

Judge Brown said: "It was undoubtedly a sustained and savage assault.

"A witness saw you swinging it (the crowbar) like a golf club".

"You were extremely forceful and she was completely helpless to do anything about that.


"She suffered the most extensive injuries to her head and face and was pronounced dead at the scene."

Judge Brown said: "Fracturing of finger bones showed she didn't die immediately and must have suffered greatly."

Police were called at around 2am by passersby in Pope Lane.

The pair were chased by Topping, brandishing the crowbar, from the scene.

As officers arrived, Topping threw the weapon at a third witness and ran to the rear of a property before being arrested.

When the crowbar was found, it had been wiped thoroughly so there were no traces of blood, body tissue or hair on it.


Topping was described as being "very drunk" and claiming to the police at that time that he didn't know what he had done.

Sentencing, Judge Brown told Topping: "There is no doubt in my mind, due to the sustained, brutal and barbaric nature of the attack, there was an intention to kill.

"It was an extremely brutal and ferocious assault and must have caused extreme suffering to Rosie.

"It is difficult to envisage a more horrific attack on a defenceless person.

"You are undoubtedly a violent man with a criminal record for violent offences."