Father jailed for brutal killing of ex-girlfriend which she chillingly predicted after he was bailed for harassment

  • David Palmer flipped after Kerry Smith refused to let him see their 19-month-old daughter Samantha because she feared he would kill the pair
  • At the time of the killing, Palmer was on bail for harassing miss Smith and was also serving a suspended prison sentence for assaulting her
  • Palmer was jailed for life and ordered to serve at least 23 years

PUBLISHED: 08:43 EST, 4 April 2012 | UPDATED: 10:05 EST, 4 April 2012

A jealous father who stabbed his ex-partner to death in broad-daylight while he was on police bail for harassing her has been jailed for 23 years.

David Palmer, 40, repeatedly knifed Kerry Smith, 29, after lying in wait for her as she left her local shop.

The blonde mother died of multiple stab wounds shortly after the attack in Blackheath High Street, West Midlands, in July last year.

Murder: David Palmer, 40, repeatedly knifed Kerry Smith, 29, after lying in wait for her as she left her local shop – he flipped after she refused to let him see their 19-month-old daughter Samantha because she feared he would kill them both

Chillingly, just days before the murder, Kerry confided in friend Joanne Adams, telling her she feared Palmer would kill her.

She told her: ‘I’m going to die and my daughter is going to grow up without a mum.

‘I’ll definitely be dead next time.’

The court heard Palmer flipped after Kerry refused to let him see their 19-month-old daughter Samantha because she feared he would kill them both.

Miss Smith had left the shop at 11.40am on Sunday, July 31 when she was stabbed three times by Palmer.

She was rushed to hospital but was pronounced dead a short time later.

At the time of the killing, Palmer was on bail for harassing miss Smith after a series of brutal attacks on her at her home.

He was also serving a suspended prison sentence after being convicted of beating her with a broom handle.

Palmer was jailed for life and ordered to serve at least 23 years at Wolverhampton Crown Court on Tuesday.

Sentencing him, Judge John Warner told him: ‘It is not surprising that she feared that one day you would kill her.

Crime scene: Kerry had just left a local shop at 11.40am on Sunday, July 31 when she was stabbed three times by Palmer

‘It was a fear she expressed in those final days of her life.’

It emerged that before her death Kerry wrote a letter sent to the father of a domestic abuse murder victim expressing her fears that Palmer would kill her.

She became pen pals with Michael Brown, whose daughter, 36-year-old mother Clare Wood, from Salford, Greater Manchester, was strangled and set alight by a man she met on Facebook in 2009.

In the letter Kerry said she feared that one day Palmer would kill her or their daughter Samantha.

And just months before her death Kerry begged police to help her, telling them: ‘I’m totally and utterly scared that David is going to try and kill me.’

During the four-week trial, the jury was shown shocking CCTV footage of Palmer lying in wait for Kerry as she entered a shop in Blackheath High Street, West Midlands, at 11.30am last year.

Palmer crouched behind a wooden board before launching a frenzied attack on the helpless mum and stabbing her three times. 

Palmer, of Rowley Regis, West Midlands, admitted manslaughter but was convicted of murder after a jury took just one hour 20 minutes to return a unanimous guilty verdict last week.

Tragic: During the four-week trial, the jury was shown shocking CCTV footage of Palmer lying in wait for Kerr as she entered a shop in Blackheath High Street, West Midlands, at 11.30am last year

The court was told how Kerry lived in a state of ‘abject terror’ of Palmer, who was described as ‘a man consumed with jealousy, anger and hatred’ who would regularly beat Kerry.

The jury were also told about Palmer’s violent history and how a terrified Kerry had called the police on numerous occasions following his threatening or violent behaviour.

In 2010, Palmer received a suspended prison sentence when he pleaded guilty to assault occasioning actual bodily harm after he attacked her in March that year.

Jurors heard how Palmer had beaten her with a broom handle and then punched her several times, leaving her with a fractured left rib and bruising to her head. 

Over the next two years, the jury were told of Palmer’s failure to leave miss Smith alone – constantly calling at her mother’s home and making violent threats.

The court then heard miss Smith wrote to a friend on July 27 2011, just three days before her death.

In it she wrote: ‘I’ve been through a violent relationship. He hit me and when I left him and went to live with my mum, he broke into my mum’s house and broke my ribs.

‘His bail conditions are not to come anywhere near my road and not to contact me in any way.

‘I’m now that terrified that I sleep with my head up against the bedroom door and Samantha in bed with me.

‘I really do think that these bail conditions are not going to stop him as that if he’s found not guilty (of the harassment) he will just keep coming.

‘What if he gets into my house and takes mine or my daughters, or both of our lives?’

Alan Kent QC, prosecuting, told the court: ‘She (Kerry Smith) actually thought that one day he would kill her. that day came on Sunday July 31.’

Speaking after Tuesday’s hearing, Detective Inspector Simon Astle, of West Midlands Police, said: ‘Palmer will not be eligible for parole until 2035 and remain behind bars after that time if he is still deemed a potential danger to the public.

‘David Palmer is a jealous, controlling and violent man.

‘Armed with a knife he went to an area where he knew Kerry would be and stabbed her before running off and leaving her bleeding to death on the pavement.

‘He intended to kill her and in doing so finally exerted the ultimate control over her.’

 

Father jailed for brutal killing of ex-girlfriend which she chillingly predicted after he was bailed for harassment

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