Jailed: Telford father killed terminally ill ex-wife

A Telford man was jailed for six years after murdering his terminally ill ex-wife.

Cornelius Van Der Ploeg. Pic: Norfolk Police
Cornelius Van Der Ploeg. Pic: Norfolk Police

Cornelius Van Der Ploeg , of Oxmoor Avenue, Hadley, was sentenced at Norwich Crown Court on Thursday after previously admitting to the murder of his ex-wife, Cherith Van Der Ploeg, at an earlier hearing. He was sentenced to life, with a minimum of six years.

The court heard how Van Der Ploeg had travelled from Telford to Cherith’s home address in The Highfields, Costessey, near Norwich, on the morning of February 15 this year, alongside other family members, to visit her. Cherith’s family had spent most of their weekends visiting her after she was diagnosed with terminal illness in January 2020.

Cherith’s condition had rapidly deteriorated, and as a result, she had chosen to receive end of life care at her home in Costessey.

During their visit on February 15, Van Der Ploeg, of Oxmoor Avenue, Hadley, had asked family members if he could spend some time alone with Cherith, who was lying in a bed in the living room.

Approximately half an hour later, he called two of Cherith’s family members into the living room claiming to have smothered her. An altercation broke out between Van Der Ploeg and family members before police were called at approximately 11pm that evening. On arrival,

Officers arrested Van Der Ploeg, who continued to make repeat admissions confess to the killing.


Paramedics also attended the scene and sadly pronounced Cherith dead at 11.22pm that night.

Van Der Ploeg was later charged with murder and remanded into custody.

Detective Inspector Lewis Craske said: “This is a tragic case and my thoughts remain with Cherith’s family.“Following a thorough investigation undertaken by the Joint Major Investigation Team, it was established that Van Der Ploeg’s actions were unlikely to have been the result of malice. “It appears that he killed his ex-wife, believing it to have been in her and her family’s best interests.”

“However, as a result of the early death, Cherith’s daughter and son did not have the opportunity to grieve for their mother, while a police investigation in to the actions of their father took over.

“I hope, now that the sentence has passed, Cherith’s family can take time to come to terms with what has happened.”

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