Overcast

Overcast

max temp: 4°C

min temp: -2°C

ESTD 1874 Search

Ipswich/Gran Canaria: Chris Chittock facing up to 25 years in jail for murdering girlfriend Sarah Shields

21:01 22 February 2013

Christopher Chittock

Christopher Chittock

Archant

AN Ipswich man is facing up to 25 years in jail after being found guilty of murdering his girlfriend in Gran Canaria.

A Spanish jury today convicted Christopher Chittock of throttling Sarah Shields to death after beating her senseless on a deserted beach during their holiday.

The 38-year-old then dumped her naked body in the sea before flying back to Britain alone. He told Miss Shields’ parents that she had gone off with another man she had met on the sunshine island.

Chittock had been convicted of assaulting the 23-year-old by magistrates in Ipswich only a month before he murdered her.

The couple had lived together in a flat in Alnesbourn Crescent, in Ravenswood, Ipswich.

After the domestic assault in June 2010, Miss Shields was urged to leave him by her mother and her best friend.

However, she told them – before agreeing to give Chittock a second chance and moving back in with him – “Don’t worry, it was a one-off, it won’t happen again.”

A jury of four men and five women took more than a day to return their 8-1 majority murder verdict at a court in Las Palmas after a three-day trial.

Miss Shields’ mother Angela and sister Belinda broke down in tears in court when today’s verdict was given.

Chittock, previously of Great Blakenham and Barham near Claydon, shook his head in his hands as he learned his fate from a translator.

After the verdict, the family issued a statement: “Today, after a very long wait, we finally feel that justice has been done for our Sarah.

“We would like to thank both the Spanish and English police authorities for their support and hard work.

“It’s been a very long and emotional few years and we are glad it has finally come to an end. Our thoughts also go out to his (Chittock) family, who have no doubt suffered too.”

The jury also ruled the engineer had sent text messages from Miss Shields’ mobile to her family and friends, pretending to be her in a cynical attempt to buy time after murdering her on July 6, 2010.

Judge Secundino Aleman said he was reserving sentencing to a later date after state prosecutor Beatriz Sanchez called for Chittock to be imprisoned for the maximum 25 years.

He will be sentenced to at least 20 years because the jury ruled he had deliberately and unnecessarily increased Miss Shields’ suffering before murdering her.

Chittock’s girlfriend of eight months had been sending flirty texts to ex-boyfriend William Newham. But the jury ruled as unproven the prosecution’s claims Chittock got access to Sarah’s phone before killing her and attacked her because he had seen the texts.

Chittock burnt her belongings except her mobile phone, used it to send fake texts to her family and friends pretending he was Miss Shields, and flew back to Britain alone, claiming to be a victim of his girlfriend’s infidelity.

He told her mother when she picked him up from Stansted Airport: “She left me for an electrician called Jason she met on holiday. Don’t try to call her.”

Suffolk Police arrested Chittock three days later, after her family reported her missing.

Chittock was extradited to Spain in September 2010.

0 comments

It's frosty now, but could we be heading for a drought in the summer? Picture: Louise Rackstraw

The cold weather has been the talk of the town and county for the last few weeks but a new weather threat could be on the cards – a summer drought.

Police work the scene of an aggravated burglary at the Old Rectory house in Sible Hedingham.

Two men have been jailed for a burglary described by a judge as “every householder’s utter nightmare” in which a millionaire businessman was blasted in the leg with a sawn-off shotgun through his locked bedroom door.

Launch of the Its Possible 2 (IP2) project, at One sixth form, Ipswich. Back L-R: Damien Morling,Sarah Hyam. Front L-R: Jake Morling, Milan Irving, Sarayah Irving. Photo: Sarah Lucy Brown.

A bold new education strategy to significantly raise aspirations among young people and shift entrenched attitudes in the IP2 area of Ipswich has been launched.

A beautiful swan in flight , about to land in Mickle mere at Pakenham near Bury st Edmunds. Picture: Andrew Mutimer

Suffolk’s top beauty spots and landmarks, and its amazing wildlife, can provide the subjects for some stunning photos and through our iwitness24 site our readers are able to share them with the world.

Overhead wires being renewed at Gidea Park.

If you want a day out in London without having to switch from train to bus you will have wait until April - and then direct services will be suspended again after just one day.

The inquest opening was held at Beacon House in Ipswich

A 23-year-old Suffolk man lost his life after being struck by a train close to Trimley railway station just days before Christmas, an inquest has heard.

The former Groove nightclub in Ipswich which is being converted into an easyHotel.

A new “super budget” easyHotel due to open in Ipswich later this year will include a coffee shop.

Most read

Great Days Out

cover

Click here to view
the Great Days Out
supplement

View

Most commented

HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists

Streetlife

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

MyDate24 MyPhotos24