A 47-year-old man has been sentenced to a minimum of 30 years in prison after being found guilty of murdering his neighbour at her flat in Congleton.
David Mottram was today, Monday 27 September, sentenced to life in prison with a minimum term of 30 years at Chester Crown Court.
At 10.27pm on Tuesday 2 March 2021 Mottram called Crisis Line and told them that he had killed his neighbour, 45-year-old Samantha Heap.
Officers attended the supported living complex in Nursery Lane and while in his flat, Mottram admitted that he had killed his neighbour.
He was immediately cautioned and arrested on suspicion of murder.
Mottram later told a psychiatrist that he said to Samantha that he had been locked out of his flat and asked to come in whilst he rang a family member to get a spare key. He then subjected her to a sustained and brutal assault.
A Home Office Post Mortem revealed the cause of death as strangulation with many other serious injuries sustained by the victim.
Detectives searching his flat found a blue holdall with a number of handwritten letters inside stating that he didn’t want to live in the community and wanted to go to prison.
Over the course of two days Mottram was interviewed by detectives but he answered no comment. Due to the overwhelming evidence he was charged with murder and remanded into custody.
The jury heard that Mottram has Autism Spectrum Disorder and that as part of reaching their verdict they needed to decide whether his condition affected his rational judgement and provide him a defence of diminished responsibility. They concluded that it didn’t and he was found guilty of murder unanimously.
On sentencing Mottram, Judge Michael Leeming described Mottram as ‘a very dangerous man’.
In determining the minimum sentence, Judge Leeming decided that Mottram had taken a ligature with him that he used to strangle Samantha, had stabbed and inflicted other sharp force trauma on her with a knife from her flat, as well as inflicting multiple blunt force injuries that resulted in more than 60 injuries to her. He described this a ‘cold blooded and premeditated murder planned over a number of years’ which involved a sexual element by subjecting her body to sexual degradation.
DI Julien Culham said:
“What Mottram did that evening was inconceivable and has left a family absolutely devastated.
“Despite admitting to officers at the time, and on his initial call to the crisis line, he decided to plead not guilty causing the family further distress of having to go through a trial.
“I hope that following today’s sentence Samantha’s family can take some small comfort, knowing that Mottram has now been given a significant prison sentence.”
Samantha’s family said:
“Samantha was a warm lovely person who had no bad in her and did not deserve what happened to her. As a family we have suffered a great loss and we are struggling to come to terms with what happened.
“While it won’t bring Samantha back to us, knowing he is in prison for what he did to Samantha and our family will, I hope, help us in some way as we try to come to terms with our devastating and cruel loss.
“We would like to take the opportunity to thank the police and CPS for their advice and support throughout this traumatic time.”