Every three days, in our #EveryThreeDays campaign - we remember a woman killed by a man. Previously, this month we have remembered Suzanne Pilley, Raheela Shariff, Louise Smith and three days ago Claire Parry.
Today May 14th, we remember Natalie Hemming, who was murdered by her partner in May 2016 - just six years ago. Natalie, 31, was a mum of three young children and lived with her partner Paul Hemming. They were not married, but Natalie took his surname when they started to co-habit.
Previously, Natalie was in a bad relationship with another man and together, they had a child. While with Paul Hemming, she gave birth to two more children, but their relationship was very rocky. There was a history of reported domestic violence, which the authorities tended to ignore.
On May 1st, during an argument, Natalie was attacked in their home and beaten to death by Hemming. He then wrapped her body in a blanket, drove thirty miles away and dumped her body in a wood. The next day Paul Hemming told the children their mother had left and took them to Whipsnade Zoo - however, Natalie's mum became very concerned at her sudden disappearance and two days later called Thames Valley Police.
Police officers visited the Hemming's home the same day, May 3rd, and Paul Hemming told them that Natalie had been raped and had gone away to “clear her head”. To cover his tracks, he then started to text Natalie’s phone, pretending to be concerned about her. The Police were not satisfied with Hemming's explanation, though, and he was arrested and two days later charged.
Then followed one of the most extensive searches in Thames Valley Police history - but without success. Some three weeks later, Natalie's badly decomposed remains were discovered by a man working in nearby fields. The case against Paul Hemming was complete, and in late October 2016, he appeared in court to answer the charges against him.
To mitigate his crimes, he pleaded guilty to manslaughter, but the prosecution refused to accept his plea seeking a guilty verdict for the charge of murder. In court, evidence proved that Natalie had been victim to very significant domestic violence over several years - Hemming was a violent hothead. The pathologist also commented on the state of Natalie's remains, saying they were so decomposed it was not possible to confirm the specific cause of death.
The jury agreed with the prosecutor - Paul Hemming was found guilty of murder with the Judge, Richard Foster telling Hemming:
"Natalie Hemming knew you were overbearing, controlling, jealous and on occasions violent. You said you would mend your ways, but you did not - the manner in which you have conducted yourself since the murder indicates a complete lack of remorse."
Paul Hemming was sentenced to life imprisonment - with a minimum term of twenty years.
Natalie Hemming's children were aged just three, six and ten years of age - and one of them later admitted that they had witnessed the murder of their mother.
Scared for life.
Natalie Hemming 1985 - 2016
Authored by Steph @PlaceSteph