Life sentence for killer

THE KILLER of a nurse who was murdered at her Essex home her killer has been handed a life sentence.

Elliot Furniss

THE KILLER of a nurse who was murdered at her Essex home her killer has been handed a life sentence.

Ella Chimweta, 32, arrived in the UK from Zimbabwe looking for the chance of a better life and was working at Colchester General Hospital when she was murdered 13 months ago.

Yesterday, a jury of eight men and four women found Daniel Tambengwa, described as “arrogant” by police, guilty of murder after a five week trial.

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Throughout the process the trainee scientist denied killing Miss Chimweta after a row at their flat in the Highwoods area of Colchester last July.

The court was told he fled to Cameroon after concealing her body but returned to the UK in September after talking to Essex detectives.

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Just weeks before Miss Chimweta was killed, the couple began caring for an 11-year-old girl, who cannot be identified for legal reasons.

During the trial, the jury heard evidence from the girl, now 12, who was left locked in the flat for seven days until she alerted a neighbour after discovering the decomposing corpse.

Judge Ball said he had considered all the aggravating and mitigating factors and deemed 15 years a suitable tariff and told Tambengwa he would be deported to Cameroon upon his release.

He said he gave the defendant “some regard” for the fact he had returned to the UK to face trial.

Tambengwa, who shook his head and sighed as the verdict was read out, was cleared of two lesser charges related to his conduct with the young girl after he was alleged to have sexually abused her hours after the killing.

He was found not guilty of inciting a child to engage in a sex act and causing a child to watch a sex act.

Detective superintendent John Quinton, of Essex Police, said the killer had never expressed sorrow for what had happened to Miss Chimweta.

He said: “He left a child alone in the house with Ella's body, with little care for her welfare. We are pleased that he has been found guilty and will have to face the consequences of his actions.

“However, if he had pleaded guilty earlier he would not have put that young girl through the ordeal of giving evidence and having to relive the dreadful events of July 2007.

“Our condolences to Ella's family and relatives and we hope that this verdict brings some closure for them.”

In a statement Denise Hagel, Colchester hospital nursing director, said the colleagues of Miss Chimweta were shocked and saddened to learn of her death and that the trust wished to extend its condolences to her family and friends at this very difficult time.

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