A man has been jailed for life for stabbing his ex-partner to death in a “ferocious” attack while her three children were home.
Christie Frewin, 25, died at her home in Lady Grove, Welwyn Garden City, Hertfordshire, on the morning of January 27, 2021.
Shortly after her death, she was described by family as being a “gentle soul” and someone who would do anything for her three children.
Today (Tuesday, June 1), Alex Staines, 31, of Upperfield Road, Welwyn Garden City, was sentenced to life in prison for her murder.
Prosecuting, Martin Mulgrew told St Albans Crown Court that on the day before the incident, Christie had taken two of her children to Staines’ house per their arrangement.
Later that day, Staines, who pled guilty at an earlier hearing, saw Christie with a male friend and he told him: “You will not have my baby mum”.
The court heard Christie had ended her five-year relationship with Staines – who was the father to all three children – in 2018, but despite this, Staines continued to berate Christie and appeared jealous if she spent time with anyone else.
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He claimed she had “disrespected” him by speaking to other men.
The court also heard how, in November 2018, Staines had previously been cautioned over harassment after Christie brought an end to their relationship. She reported she had received 100 calls from him. She was given a safe mobile phone number by a risk assessment team.
Earlier this year, the defendant was on police bail in relation to allegations of assault towards her.
The day before the murder, Christie visited Staines’ home to take the children back but he wouldn’t allow it, the court heard.
At around 2am on the day of the murder, Christie could be heard on the phone saying she wanted her children back.
“Sometime in the early hours the defendant had set upon a plan to travel to her home, enter her home and murder Christie Frewin,” Mr Mulgrew told the court.
He had armed himself with a kitchen knife from his home after previously asking someone to look after his dog, and visited a young woman who he was in a relationship with before leaving items in an alleyway to collect.
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At 8.25am that morning, Staines arrived at Christie’s home with the two children alongside him.
Just six minutes later, at 8.31am, he left.
“In those six minutes the defendant had attacked Christie Frewin with a kitchen knife he had brought and inflicted injuries that proved fatal,” Mr Mulgrew added.
The prosecution told the court that the murder was witnessed by the children and a post mortem examination found Christie suffered 17 stab wounds.
Slashes were even made across her arm where she had a tattoo of his name, the court heard.
Staines then “left her for dead and dying” along with the children who were left on their own for almost an hour.
They were only discovered by chance when someone concerned for Christie’s welfare tried calling her.
One of her children picked up the phone and told them their dad had stabbed their mum to death and that she was “on the living-room floor and not moving”.
The woman who made the call then came over before calling 999 at around 9.20am.
The court then heard that the defendant left Christie’s home covered in blood before calling his dad and confessing that he’d killed Christie, adding: “It’s a long story”.
He failed to tell him that the children had been left on their own to fend for themselves.
Staines then entered Hatfield Police Station at around 9am, was asked to leave because he didn’t have a mask, and later disposed of two mobile phones. He returned to the station at around 9.40am and told staff he wanted to report a serious crime.
He was arrested at 10.11am and the murder weapon was later found in the rucksack of his Nissan car.
“Two [children] have retained the memories of the events,” Mr Mulgrew told the court.
“The defendant then left three young and vulnerable children with their murdered mother in front of them.
“They were alone for almost an hour before they were found by chance.”
Mitigating, Ali Naseem Bhajwa told the court: “We make no exceptions for what he did. He realises he deserves and will receive a very significant punishment.”
‘She was the sweetest, most kind, loving sister, daughter and mother’
Shortly after her death, Christie’s family paid tribute to the 25-year-old mum.
“I’m not really sure where to begin. Christie had so many amazing qualities,” they said in a statement.
“She was the sweetest, most kind, loving sister, daughter and mother to her children that we could have ever asked for.
“We always had each other through everything. She loved so hard and no matter what Christie was facing she always put on the bravest face for her three most beautiful children.
“I feel robbed and gutted. She was so strong and I hope she is only ever remembered for the brave and gentle soul she was. She is truly loved and missed.
“I love you forever and always baby girl. Until we meet again princess.”
In a victim impact statement read to the court on Christie’s mum’s behalf, Mr Mulgrew added: “The emotions we are all feeling is so hard.
“We are devastated she was taken from us in such a brutal manner.
“We are lost without her.”
‘The attack was as ferocious as it was merciless’
Staines was jailed for life with a minimum term of 22 years and 58 days for the murder of his ex-partner.
He was also handed a two-year sentence for possession of a bladed article, to be served concurrently.
When and if he is released he will be on licence for the rest of his life.
Sentencing, Judge Kay QC said the “frenzied” attack had stemmed from jealousy and added: “Over the years you exercised coercive and abusive control over her.
“You then arrived yourself with a kitchen knife and took the two children to her home.
“At 8.31, in that six minute time frame, [you launched a] violent, ferocious and brutal attack on Christie Frewin.
“The attack was as ferocious as it was merciless.
“Having left Christie Frewin for dead you completely and heartlessly left your three young children alone.
“She was defenceless and vulnerable when you burst into her home.
“You took no steps to inform anyone that you had left the children with their dead mother.”
Detective Inspector Justine Jenkins, who led the investigation, said: “Our thoughts remain with Christie’s family and friends at what continues to be an extremely difficult time for them. Nothing can ever make up for the heart-breaking loss they have suffered, due to this man’s senseless and horrific actions.
“They have at least been spared the ordeal of having to go through a trial, but still they relive the events every single day.
“Staines is a violent man who has shown no real remorse for what he has done. His actions on that morning were truly harrowing and have left three young children to grow up without their mother.”