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UK Woman Sentenced to Life For Killing Girlfriend With Garden Swan Ornament

by Jason St. Amand
National News Editor
Thursday Jan 17, 2013

A British woman who pleaded guilty to murdering her partner by smashing a concrete garden swan ornament on her head has been sentenced to life in prison, the U.K. newspaper the Daily Mail reports.

Tracey Ashfield, 43, killed her partner Wendy Thorpe, 42, in July 2012 after the two women got into an argument about finances and their home. After smashing a 15 pound concrete garden swan ornament over Thorpe's head, Ashfield dragged her body to the bottom of their garden and tried to hide it by putting it under an old sofa.

"On Saturday 14 July 2012, Ashfield was with her partner at their home when they got into a heated argument over money," Hayley Firman, head of the West Midlands Crown Prosecution Service's public protection unit, said. "The argument turned physical and she then picked up a garden ornament and repeatedly struck Ms. Thorpe over the head and upper body."

The couple, who lived in Walsall, West Midlands, had been fighting about their money woes all day but tried to reconcile over dinner that night. Their attempt to smooth things over didn't work and the women began to fight again. Apparently, Ashfield was fed up with the arguing and then killed Thorpe with the lawn decoration.

Ashfield says she slept with her lover's body and the next day gave police a handwritten confession. She pleaded guilty to murder on Monday and was sentenced to life in jail and will serve at least 13 years.

"This was a tragic case where an argument went too far and someone has lost their life as a result," investigating officer, Detective Constable Jeff Neal, said. "We received a call from Ashfield the day after the incident, after she became wracked with guilt about what had happened. We hope that this result will bring some comfort and closure to Wendy's family."

Within the past few months there have been similar cases that occurred between lesbian couples. In December, Day Arteesha Donaldson of South Carolina, was charged with misdemeanor assault and battery after she allegedly attacked her girlfriend with an ironing board over an argument about a misplaced sex toy. Additionally in November it was reported that Chamique Holdsclaw was arrested and charged with aggravated assault after she allegedly hit her ex-girlfriend's car with a baseball bat and fired a gun inside the vehicle.


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