A CAGE fighter guilty of stabbing his beautician ex to death in cocaine-fuelled rage over her sex life has today been handed a life sentence.
Andrew Wadsworth, 37, killed Melissa Belshaw, 32, in the front bedroom of her home in Billinge, Wigan, after binging on drugs and booze.
He killed her two months after he came out of prison on licence and became consumed by an obsession about her sex life.
The ex-professional mixed martial arts fighter had flown into a rage when he made what he claimed were "shock" discoveries about her.
Wadsworth subjected the 32-year-old to a prolonged attack with a large kitchen knife in her bedroom on the afternoon of May 20.
Her body was then discovered in the bedroom, while her teen daughter was found "trapped in the house with the man who had just murdered her mother".
He was found guilty yesterday of murdering Melissa at Manchester Crown Court, and sentenced to a minimum of 32 years in prison today.
He was also convicted of attempting to murder a hero neighbour who tried to intervene in the street, but found not guilty of threatening to kill Melissa's 13-year-old daughter.
The former fighter went out on to the street armed with the same knife and repeatedly stabbed a concerned neighbour who heard the screams coming from the property.
He then delivered a roundhouse kick to the head of a police constable at the scene where he was arrested and then later punched another officer in the face in a police cell, Manchester Crown Court heard.
Sadly, she made a fatal mistake in becoming involved with you and you took her future away.
Sentencing him on Thursday to life imprisonment, Mrs Justice Yip said: "At trial, you painted a very negative picture of Ms Belshaw as you set out to shift responsibility away from you and to blame her for what happened.
"Some of the things you claimed were demonstrably false.
"Your character assassination undoubtedly went beyond anything that was justified. You had degraded her in her life and you continued to do so after her death.
"She may have made some mistakes in her life but at the time of her death she was pursuing her dream of having her own beauty salon. She was still only young and was seeking to turn her life around.
"Sadly, she made a fatal mistake in becoming involved with you and you took her future away."
Jurors heard how Wadsworth began dating beautician Melissa in March 2018.
The trial heard that Wadsworth regularly accused Ms Belshaw in text messages from September 2019 of cheating on him, including by working as a prostitute.
The judge noted: "You claimed that you had loved her but the numerous derogatory words used in your text messages to her suggest otherwise.
"By contrast, you appear to have had a very high opinion of yourself. Your messages display a wholly unwarranted air of moral superiority."
In a victim personal statement, Ms Belshaw's mother, Jean Mulvaney, said her daughter was a "beautiful soul inside and out, who had a heart of gold and many friends."
She added: "The opening of a new shop was her dream and a turning point for her life."
Following sentencing, Ms Belshaw's family said: "The trial has been an extremely traumatic experience as we've had to sit through every detail of how Melissa was killed.
"The defence continually tried to destroy her memory and showed a total lack of sympathy or sensitivity towards the family and the loss we have suffered."
HOW YOU CAN GET HELP:
Women's Aid has this advice for victims and their families:
- Always keep your phone nearby.
- Get in touch with charities for help, including the Women’s Aid live chat helpline and services such as SupportLine.
- If you are in danger, call 999.
- Familiarise yourself with the Silent Solution, reporting abuse without speaking down the phone, instead dialing “55”.
- Always keep some money on you, including change for a pay phone or bus fare.
- If you suspect your partner is about to attack you, try to go to a lower-risk area of the house – for example, where there is a way out and access to a telephone.
- Avoid the kitchen and garage, where there are likely to be knives or other weapons. Avoid rooms where you might become trapped, such as the bathroom, or where you might be shut into a cupboard or other small space.
If you are a victim of domestic abuse, SupportLine is open Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday from 6pm to 8pm on 01708 765200. The charity’s email support service is open weekdays and weekends during the crisis – [email protected]
Women’s Aid provides a live chat service available. from 10am to noon.
You can also call the freephone 24-hour National Domestic Abuse Helpline on 0808 2000 247.
The thug had been released from jail on licence the previous November following convictions in 2011 for robbery, possessing a firearm with intent to cause fear or violence, aggravated burglary and causing grievous bodily harm with intent.
He was recalled to prison in January 2019 after a positive drugs test for cocaine and then released again on March 4 this year after a parole hearing.
Just two months later, he launched into the frenzied knife attack on Melissa.
Melissa died from a "series of deliberate stab wounds" which had been inflicted with "severe force".
The court was told the mum had made "a futile attempt to defend herself" during the horror on May 20 this year.
A passer-by smashed through the front door of the house after hearing the screams of Melissa's daughter inside.
The jury had heard that Wadsworth admitted killing Melissa but claimed he was not guilty of murder because he had acted "instinctively" and suffered a "loss of control".
Prosecutor Tim Storrie said: "Melissa Belshaw wasn't killed in a single instance of violence. The attack upon her was prolonged, remorseless and deliberate."
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