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18 February 2019, 16:11 | Updated: 19 February 2019, 08:16
A man from Leicestershire - who slit his girlfriend’s throat before threatening to take his own life to avoid prison - has been found guilty of her murder.
Tracey Evans was killed by Jeremy Clarke on her 52nd birthday at the flat they shared in High Street, Measham.
The 55-year-old will be sentenced at Leicester Crown Court on Tuesday 19th February - having been found guilty of murder.
During the three-week trial, the court heard that on the night of the murder in August last year - Clarke and Tracey had been to a local pub to celebrate Tracey’s birthday.
They were seen on CCTV leaving the pub separately. Clarke left first at 8.43pm and headed home, followed minutes after at 8.49pm by Tracey. Less than 10 minutes after she arrived back at the flat she was dead.
The 55-year-old admitted to a family member he had killed Tracey when he was seen with blood on his face and clothes. He also called his daughter and confessed but told her he planned to end his own life to save himself from prison.
Following his confessions, the police were called to Clarke’s flat in the early hours of the following morning and Tracey was found inside. She had been brutally attacked with a knife and died from significant injuries to her neck.
The most notable wound ran ear to ear - measuring around 24cm in length.
When officers arrived at the scene Clarke was found outside with splatters of Tracey’s blood on his jeans and shoes.
As he was arrested he confessed to officers he had killed her but days later claimed to have suffered from a hypoglycaemic attack and had no recollection of committing the crime.
Detective Chief Inspector David Swift-Rollinson, who led the investigation, said: “Despite being seen with Tracey’s blood on him and confessing to two people he had killed Tracey, Clarke pleaded with one of them not to call police. He told others, including the police, he had tried to take his own life to spare himself having to spend many years in prison.
“Luckily officers arrived at the scene before this happened and Clarke was arrested, again admitting what he had done.
“Days later Clarke claimed to have suffered from a hypoglycaemic attack and this defence continued, subjecting Tracey’s family to further pain and heartache as they were forced to hear during the trial the details of the night Tracey was murdered and the horrific injuries she endured.
“I am pleased to see today justice has been served and I hope today’s verdict will provide closure on what has been a dreadful six months for Tracey’s family.”
The daughter of murdered Tracey Evans has paid tribute to her mum. Jodie Winterson said: “Losing my mum under such brutal and horrific circumstances has been extremely painful and traumatic for our family.
“Myself and the rest of my family have endured a very difficult six months since my mum was so brutally taken and we are relieved the trial process is now over and finally grieve for the mother, daughter, sister, auntie and friend we have all lost. The deep sadness we feel will be with us forever and is something no family should ever have to go through.
“I would like to take this opportunity to say a few words about my mum who will be so dearly missed by so many.
“She will always be remembered for her beautiful smile, her kindness and her complete selflessness. She truly did have a heart of gold, always putting others before herself and was such a hard working lady.
“Although we feel justice has partly been served with today’s verdict, no conviction or prison sentence will ever be enough for the physical, mental, financial and emotional abuse Jeremy Clarke subjected my mum to during their relationship, or the way he so brutally murdered her on her birthday.
“Jeremy’s actions will never be justified. His total lack of remorse for any of his actions are those only of a controlling bully and a cold, callous murderer.
“I would like to finish with a deep and heartfelt thank you to the Crown Prosecution Service, Mary Prior QC and Leicestershire Police, especially the family liaison officers and all those who worked so tirelessly on the case to get justice for my mum. You have provided great support to me and the rest of the family and shown compassion throughout.”