A former Midhurst maths teacher charged with murdering a woman in her Petersfield home is under police guard in hospital.
Blair Graham Alexander Marrows, 45, was due to appear in court yesterday, Monday, 24 March. charged with killing mother-of-one Donna Coe, 44. But the hearing was postponed after he was taken to hospital with what police described as a hand injury.
A post-mortem examination revealed the maths teacher had died from multiple stab wounds at her home in Dickens Lane, Petersfield. Police described the attack which led to her death as 'frenzied and violent'. As well as stab wounds she suffered injuries to her head.
Ms Coe's body was found lying at the foot of the stairs in her four-bedroom home in Dickins Lane on Friday afternoon.
It is not yet known exactly when she died although she was known to have spoken to friends and relatives on the phone on Thursday. Detective Chief Inspector Scott Chilton, who is leading the investigation, said the alarm had been raised by relatives who were concerned when they were unable to get Ms Coe to answer the door. Neighbours believe the police were called when the victim's 14-year-old daughter, who had been staying with her father during the holidays, was unable to get in. After a 999 call police arrived and broke down the door, to make the grisly discovery. DCI Chilton said Ms Coe was from a 'close-knit family.'
A huge police operation was sparked by the discovery of Donna Coe's body. A team of 40 officers is working on the case. Forensic teams worked through Friday night examining the large, detached house for evidence, while other officers have conducted house-to-house inquiries. Two cars, including Ms Coe's Renault Clio with a personalised number plate, were also removed from outside the house to be examined.
Published Date: 26 February 2009
Eviction row killer must serve 17 years
A former Midhurst teacher who stabbed his ex-partner to death has been jailed for life.
Blair Marrows set upon Donna Coe with a six-inch knife at a house they shared after she obtained a court order to evict him. Mrs Coe suffered 29 stab wounds during the vicious attack, a court heard.
Ex-Stranraer Round Tabler, Marrows, 46, had claimed Ms Coe, 44, provoked him and came at him with the blade in the early hours of 21 March, 2008 at the home in Petersfield.
But a jury at Winchester Crown Court this week took just four hours to reject the former maths teacher's account and find him guilty of murder.
Mrs Coe's parents, from Wokingham, Berkshire, spoke of their grief. Her mother June Caunt, 67, said: "Donna had a great sense of humour. She was very kind and very caring. She always had time for other people. She loved her tennis and was a very talented pianist.
The last year has been hell for us." Her father Philip, also 67, added: "Having to sit through the trial was very harrowing and it was hard having to listen to the physical injuries which led to her death. It was difficult to resist shouting liar as Marrows gave evidence. He is devious. He killed our only daughter and we will never see her again. We feel justice has been done. I am relieved that he has got what he deserved."
Judge John Royce branded Marrows "selfish and full of self-pity" as he jailed him.
He said: "Your sorrow about killing Donna Coe is not sorrow for her, but your tears are shed for yourself. This killing was a cruel, savage and senseless one."
Marrows, a former mathematics teacher at Midhurst Grammar School, stood emotionless in the dock as the judge said he would serve a minimum of 17 years behind bars.
During the two-week trial the jury heard that Marrows and Mrs Coe lived in the same house but had separated.
Just days before the killing Mrs Coe, an IT teacher at Priors Field Public School in Godalming, secured an order at Portsmouth County Court evicting Marrows from the house. Marrows refused to leave and tried to appeal on 20 March but failed.
Later that day he returned to the house in Dickens Lane and launched a frenzied and unprovoked attack on Mrs Coe.