Violent former boyfriend found guilty of murder

By Rob George Thursday 13 December 2012 Updated: 13/12 16:53

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Buy photos » William Cummins has been handed a life sentence for the murder of Jackie Harrison. (s)

THE VIOLENT former boyfriend of Jackie Harrison has been sentenced to life in prison after being found guilty of her murder.

William Cummins will serve at least 17 years in jail following the unanimous verdict which was delivered at Worcester Crown Court this afternoon (Thursday).

The jury of seven men and five women took about an hour to return their verdict after hearing evidence for the past three weeks.

Cummins, 52, stood motionless in the dock as the verdict was delivered while family members who had been in court openly wept.

His Honour Judge Robert Juckes QC accepted Cummins may not have intended to kill Miss Harrison but delivered an intensely savage beating which resulted in her death.

Judge Juckes said all of the evidence in the case pointed to Miss Harrison tackling the drink problems which had affected her.

He told the court he believed Cummins had waited to strike since the night of March 17 when he himself had been attacked by a Polish neighbour in a row over locking Miss Harrison out of her flat.

“Something dreadful happened to her in the early part of the following week, of that I have no doubt,” he said.

“William Cummins attacked her, broke most of her ribs and her jaw in the most savage way."

“She died of those injuries in around two hours.”

“Once she had died, he remained, confused about what he could do and I believe he was in the flat with her for at least two days."

“When he left he went looking for a hiding place but was a man with no clear plan."

Earlier, during his summing up, the judge told the jury Cummins had been convicted of 102 offences ranging from assault to drunken behaviour since 1978.

Following the verdict the court heard Cummins had served almost three years in jail in 2005 following a robbery and possession of an offensive weapon.

He was also sent to prison in 1995 for two assaults on police officers, the court heard.

After the sentence, senior investigating officer Detective Inspector Gerry Smith said the jury had delivered the right verdict.

“It has been a difficult investigation because of the length of time Jackie Harrison's body lay undiscovered, following her murder,” he said.

“That meant some of the CCTV footage that we could have relied on had been taped over and witnesses' recollections weren't as fresh in their minds as they could have been."

“Despite that, the CCTV footage and the evidence proved a complete case against William Cummins."

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