County knifeman sentenced

A Shropshire heroin addict, who was jilted by his girlfriend for a holiday romance, was today starting a jail sentence after stabbing her new lover to death in a jealous rage.

A Shropshire heroin addict, who was jilted by his girlfriend for a holiday romance, was today starting a jail sentence after stabbing her new lover to death in a jealous rage.

Trevor Roberts, 31, of Worthington Street, Whitchurch stabbed Westlea Sykes, 29, during a fight in the early hours of August 20. Mr Sykes later died in hospital from his injuries.

Yesterday at Stafford Crown Court Judge Simon Tonking told Roberts he was imposing a sentence of imprisonment for public protection and Roberts should serve at least four-and-a-half years in prison.

Due to 275 days already spent on remand, Roberts will serve a minimum term of three years, 272 days, before he is considered for parole.

He had previously denied murdering Mr Sykes but admitted manslaughter.

Roberts was also sentenced to 12 months to run concurrently for six drugs offences, which he also admitted.

The fight that left Mr Sykes with fatal injuries came after Roberts and his long-term partner, Lorraine Simcox, went on holiday together to Faliraki, Greece, where they first met Mr Sykes.

Mr Philip Parker QC said that just days into the holiday Mr Sykes told Miss Simcox he had seen her boyfriend kissing another girl.

Miss Simcox then spent the night with Mr Sykes but when Roberts found out he threw his girlfriend out of their holiday accommodation.

Miss Simcox, also a heroin addict, spent the rest of the holiday with Mr Sykes in a whirlwind romance, before they returned to the home in Whitchurch that she had shared with Roberts.

Miss Simcox and her new lover packed up Roberts's belongings and he went to live in a neighbouring street.

But weeks later the "uneasy tension" between the two men reached its peak when Miss Simcox bought heroin off her ex-partner after returning from the V-Festival.

After supplying the class-A drugs, Roberts returned to his former home with his ex-girlfriend where the men started to fight.

Mr Parker told yesterday's hearing that Mr Sykes, who slept with an axe and a knife under his pillow, went upstairs and is believed to have brought his "big knife" down.

Miss Simcox said she saw the pair fighting as she left the room but did not see a weapon.

Minutes later, Mr Sykes stumbled out onto the street pouring with blood. Roberts was also injured in the fight.

The two men had already fought while they were in Greece and Roberts left threatening messages on the answerphones of Mr Sykes's family.

Mr Gordon Cole QC said his client had expressed remorse, the attack was not planned and he did not take the knife to the house.

Roberts had previously been sentenced to three years in prison and two-and-a-half years in prison for separate violent attacks.

Mr Sykes leaves his three children, Josh, 10, Amy, nine, and Aaron, two.

His family walked out of court in disgust when yesterday's sentence was announced before Roberts was taken down.

Nicola Coward, the mother of Mr Sykes's youngest child, said: "I'm just disgusted.

"When the judge read out what he had done before we thought it was going to be a decent sentence and then he did that. To think my son will be just six when he gets out of jail but he will never remember his father. I'm lost for words."

In a statement, Mr Sykes's parents, Patricia and Henry Sykes, said they were devastated by their son's death. They said: "He had moved from his home area of Leeds just a couple of months before his death seeking to start a new life.

"He had been searching for happiness and it ended in tragedy."

Miss Simcox, of Worthington Street, Whitchurch, also appeared in court yesterday, when she admitted two charges of possessing cannabis and/or cannabis resin with intent to supply. The hearing was adjourned for a report, but the judge said he was keeping all sentencing options open.

Aron Sandham, 23, of The Townsend, Ightfield, near Whitchurch; Daniel Nicholson, 22, of Old Woodhouses, near Whitchurch and Miranda Huxley, 24, of Queensway Flats, Whitchurch, also appeared in court after previously admitting perverting the course of public justice during the investigation.

Sandham was given a six-month custodial sentence suspended for 18 months and ordered to carry out 200 hours of paid community work and pay £722 costs.

Nicholson was given a four-month custodial sentence suspended for 18 months and must do 150 hours of unpaid work and also pay £722 costs.

Huxley was given a six month custodial sentence suspended for 18 months, an 18-month supervision order and a four month curfew.

By Kirsty Marston

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