A man has been found guilty of the murder of his former partner who died after being stabbed at her home in Westcliff.
Simon Meecham, 43, had denied murdering 26-year-old Leanne Meecham but was found guilty today, Wednesday August 13, after a trial at Chelmsford Crown Court.
Meecham was Leanne's step-father but the couple became involved in a six year relationship in 2007.
When Leanne split up with Meecham he told family members that if he couldn’t have her, nobody else could.
Meecham, a mechanic, from Rosewood Lane, Shoebury, will be sentenced at the same court on Friday, August 15.
The jury had heard that police were called to Leanne’s home in Park Street Westcliff on Thursday February 13 2014. She was found with stab wound and was taken to Royal London Hospital where she later died from her injuries.
Police called to the scene later found Meecham with knife injuries. He was treated in hospital and later charged with murder.
Senior Investigating Officer DCI Mark Hall, from the Kent & Essex Serious Crime Directorate, said: "Leanne Meecham was much loved by her family.
"On the morning of February 13, Simon Meecham went to Leanne’s home armed with a knife. He had discovered that she had started a new relationship and he was consumed by jealousy. Shortly after he arrived he fatally wounded Leanne, stabbing her multiple times. She was totally defenceless against what was a determined, focussed and wholly unprovoked attack.
"Simon Meecham then fled the house and later stabbed himself a number of times in an attempt to make it look like he was the victim. He later falsely claimed these injuries had been caused by Leanne and then later claimed he had stabbed her accidently. The jury in this case have seen through those lies and I am grateful to the witnesses who came forward to give evidence.
"My thoughts are with Leanne’s family and I hope that his conviction brings them some small comfort.
"This tragic case illustrates the dangers faced by those who suffer violence and abuse within their homes. Essex Police together with our partner agencies are committed to supporting victims of domestic abuse and bringing offenders to justice. My message to those who are in an abusive relationship is please contact Essex Police, we will listen to you, we will take your concerns seriously and we will take action to protect you.”
Members of Leanne’s family have issued the following statement.
"In February our family lost our precious Leanne at the hands of Simon Meecham. The past six months have been especially hard for us as we struggle to come to terms with how Leanne was taken from us.
"Despite the conviction of her killer, his term of imprisonment will never be sufficient punishment for taking Leanne from us. We would like to thank Essex Police and the legal teams especially our Barrister Jocelyn Ledward, who have all helped bring him to justice. We would particularly like to thank the Police Family Liaison Officers Dc Rachel Slade and Dc Dan Jordan and of course all of our family and friends for their continual support.
"We will now try to move on with our lives, remembering Leanne and the wonderful times that we shared.”
Meecham stood impassive in the dock of court number one at Chelmsford Crown Court as the unanimous verdict was delivered by the jury.
But there were sighs and soft cries of "yes" from the public gallery as the jury of six men and six women returned their verdict.
Meecham, who had denied murder, stabbed Leanne with a kitchen knife he had taken from his sister's home Rosewood Lane, Shoebury.
She died at the Royal London Hospital a week later from her injuries.
The court was told Meecham killed her because he was "possessive and jealous" that Leanne had ended their relationship and moved on with her life.
Meecham was remanded in custody until sentencing on Friday, but was warned to expect a lenghy jail term.
Judge Charles Gratwicke told him: "You have been convicted of a violent and vicious murder. You should prepare yourself for a substaitial term of imprisonment."
The trial heard how Leanne told Meecham their relationship was over and she was seeing someone else.
But he could not accept she wanted to move on with her life and wanted her to get back with him.
Meecham claimed he took a knife to her home to harm himself, but the trial heard how he stabbed Leanne in the throat and upper chest.
The court heard Meecham was originally married to Leanne's mother, but started going out with Leanne six years ago.
However, Leanne then ended their relationship and Meecham moved out to live with his sister in Rosewood Lane, Shoebury.
On February 13 he took the knife from his sister's kitchen and went to Leanne's home where he stabbed her.
She was discovered by a neighbour at about 9.30am and was later airlifted to the Royal London Hospital where she was placed in a medically-induced coma, but sadly died a week later on Thursday, February 20.
A post-mortem examination revealed she died from a brain injury which was the result of a cardiac arrest following a stab wound to her neck.
After leaving the scene, Meecham's Land Rover was seen on the seafront in Thorpe Bay. He had stabbed himself three times with the same knife - one blow perforating his liver.
He was detained by police in hospital for treatment and claimed the death of Leanne had been an accident.
During the argument in the house, he said he swung his arm out to the side and the next thing he saw was a look of shock on Leanne's face.
He told the jury: "She fell on me and looked at me and said sorry. I don't know why she said that. "I was conscious of the knife in my hand but it was just a blur."
He added: "As I was driving down the road, I thought it was all over - my life, everyone's life and I realised I was in a lot of trouble."
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