Man knifed ex to death on street after finding out about new boyfriend

An “evil” man fatally knifed his ex-girlfriend in the street after discovering she had a new partner.

Paul Crowther, 36, killed Bethany Fields, 21, on September 12 last year.

He discovered Ms Fields was going to an Irish pub in Huddersfield, west Yorkshire, before the tragedy unfolded.

Crowther armed himself with two weapons he had purchased the week before, including a six-inch knife, Leeds Crown Court heard.

He rushed towards her and two males before launching into a "sustained, and forceful" attack, stabbing her multiple times.

Ms Fields tragically died at the scene.

The court heard how Crowther, who was diagnosed with schizophrenia by psychologists after his arrest, received instructions from a voice inside his head called "Chucky".

When he was booked in, he said: "I did what you f**king said, I did what you asked, now f**k off".

Crowther, of Bramley, west Yorkshire, admitted to one count of manslaughter by means of diminished responsibility.

He was jailed for life on September 8, with a minimum term of 12 years.

Due to his mental disorder, he will be sent to Newton Lodge Hospital for psychological treatment until he is ready to be transferred to prison for the remainder of his sentence.

Ms Fields worked with people with disabilities through music therapy and met Crowther at work sometime in 2017.

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He had suffered from mental health issues for many years and was misdiagnosed with emotionally unstable personality disorder.

Psychologists now believe Crowther has suffered from paranoid schizophrenia since at least 2014 and that his mental health has seen a "gradual and destructive" turn.

The court heard how Crowther had previously launched a campaign of harassment in 2015 following a breakup with a different woman, and was convicted for harassment and given a non-custodial sentence.

Crowther and Ms Fields began a relationship in October 2017 and moved in together in 2018.

On June 15, 2019, she ended their relationship and was about to start a course in environmental studies at the University of York.

After learning about her new partner, Crowther went "ape s**t" and made threats about Ms Fields' new boyfriend, the court heard.

Jonathan Sharp, prosecuting, told the court how Ms Fields reported Crowther to police on Aug 16.

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Mitigating, Stephen Wood QC, said the defendant's ability to exercise self-control was substantially impaired.

Mr Wood said: "What has occured is an inadequate diagnosis. It is nothing short of a tragedy that he wasn't detained in July."

In a heart-wrenching statement, Bethany's grieving mum Pauline Jones said her "life ended" the day her daughter was killed.

She said: "That horrible evening, hearing my beautiful daughter, my only child, my beloved child, had been brutally, groundlessly and deliberately taken by such evil.

"By a man who I have taken into my home, who I thought I could trust, who turned out to be a cold-blooded murderer.

"I did not have the will or interest in life, as far as I'm concerned my life ended with that moment of violence.

"Bethany wasn't just my daughter, she was my best friend, my ray of sunshine.

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"I was devoted to my daughter working hard as a single mother to secure a future for her, but it now means nothing.

"She was beautiful, inside and out, talented, kind, gracious, giving, loyal – and inspirational to many.

"A daughter every parent would be proud of. The day I had to go identify her body was the worst day of my life.

"My love and admiration for Bethany could fill the entire universe, my pride the same.

"Bethany only wanted to do good, such a love for nature and the planet and she had qualities which would have made her a wonderful mother.

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"But through the savagery of Paul Crowther's actions, I and the world will never know how much she would have done.

"I feel so lost, bewildered, as to how such a lovable, passionate, gregarious young woman full of love and capacity for compassion could have her life ended from such hate.

"I will hold her in my heart for all of eternity. Bethany was far too good to ever be forgotten, a real earth angel."

Ms Jones also read a poem to the court.

Jailing him, Judge Tom Bayliss QC said: "Bethany obviously had a bright future ahead of her and the statements that I have read and that have been read to me paint a clear picture about the sort of person she was.

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"Certain characteristics shine out – in summary she was a talented, intelligent, kind, thoughtful and loving person.

"On 12 September 2019 Bethany and her friends went to the Irish club.

"It is there where you ambushed her, attacked her, repeatedly attacked her, ending her young life.

"As Pauline Jones read her statement and her poem, no one in court could be failed to be moved. Her loss is indescribable.

"There is no mitigation in reality other than your guilty plea.

"You are Paul Crowther, I'm sorry to say, a very dangerous man indeed."

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