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2:41pm Thursday 5th February 2009
By Lynda Roughley
A HUSBAND inflicted more than 500 knife wounds on his terrified wife in a ferocious attack after completely losing his self-control “in a volcanic eruption”.
In the prolonged and savage assault in the kitchen of their suburban home, bus driver Robert Bailey used numerous knives and a double pronged carving fork on his helpless wife, Elaine.
Liverpool Crown Court heard today that the mother-of-three was still alive when many of the horrific blows were inflicted.
“She had a minimum of 126 penetrating type injuries to her head and face, many located around the eyes, with a minimum of four stab wounds penetrating through the eye sockets into her underlying brain,” said Judge Henry Globe, QC, the Recorder of Liverpool.
“The pattern of injury was particularly unusual. The pathologist is of the opinion that those stab wounds were inflicted in life. That alone is a horrifying statement,” he said.
“It does not end there. The pathologist says although many of the penetrating wounds to the body were superficial they were also inflicted while she was alive and would have caused her great pain and suffering,” added Judge Globe.
He jailed 46-year-old Bailey, of Locker Park, Greasby, who appeared impassive, for life with a minimum term of 20 years. He had today admitted her murder.
Judge Globe said that precisely what happened on the afternoon of September 11 last year might never be known and had had to be pieced together by forensic investigation and a pathologist.
“What is clear is that you took the life of your wife in acts of gruesome and savage violence and she must have suffered considerably before she died.”
He said that although Bailey had suffered from depression, for which he received medication, no one had believed he was a risk to others, “still less capable of committing an offence of this seriousness”.
The blows, which included stabs, incised and puncture wounds, had been inflicted with considerable force. At least two stab wounds entered her chest, one penetrating her heart and the other her lung. She had defensive injuries to her hands and arms.
The 39-year-old former legal secretary, who had described her husband as being like her fourth child, had been so terribly mutilated that her parents were not able to see her body and she had to be identified by dental records.
The court heard that his extraordinary behaviour continued after the mid-afternoon attack as Bailey, wearing a Liverpool FC shirt and covered in blood, stormed round to the home of neighbour, Glynis Boyle, and banged on her window with a foot long knife.
“He looked possessed. He looked wild, like a maniac and was shouting obscenities and ‘I have killed her’,” she later told police.
She rang 999 and escaped into her back garden. Meanwhile Bailey got into her house and caused £20,000 worth of damage, including stabbing furniture.
Police officers arrived and after escorting Mrs Boyle to safety could see Bailey bizarrely sitting watching television, still armed with the knife, said Andrew Edis, QC, prosecuting.
On seeing an officer in the back garden Bailey, who was grinning, smashed a window to try to get to him but did not leave the house.
Armed officers arrived but before they were able to subdue him with CS gas he stabbed himself in the chest with the knife puncturing his diaphragm, and had to be taken to hospital.
When officers went to the scene of the murder they found the victim lying dead in the kitchen with blood stained knives lying around which he had used in deliberate thrusting motions. Blood stains showed that it had been a prolonged attack, said Mr Edis.
Mr Edis said that the couple had been married since 1990 and appeared happy though Elaine’s mum, Pamela Walsh, said that after their youngest child was born Bailey seemed jealous of the children.
She spoke to her daughter on the morning of her death and Elaine said he was off work sick but thought he would be okay.
Her brother, Stuart, said Bailey liked to be the centre of attention and was quite hyperactive and immature. The court heard that Stuart and his wife, Louise, who have four children, are now caring for the couple’s children.
The youngsters are two boys, aged seven and 14 and a seven-year-old girl, who suffers from Down’s Syndrome.
When Bailey, an ADHD sufferer, was interviewed he said they had argued after they went into the kitchen for a cup of tea and he ‘snapped.’. He claimed she used to belittle him and was the boss and he was always scared of her.
Bailey, who had a breakdown in 2006, said he could remember little of what he had done that afternoon.
John McDermott, QC, defending, said that the day before the killing Bailey, who met Elaine when he was living in Essex, handed in his bus keys saying he felt unable to drive a PSV as he was having panic attacks, feeling weak and lacking confidence.
He said on the fateful day “he lost his control completely. Why he did he may never be able to explain.”
No one could have predicted Bailey’s “volcanic eruption. He is most bewildered by what happened”.
Mr McDermott said that Bailey, whose mother committed suicide when he was 27, does not know why he lost “all reason and control” but accepted the attack would have been ferocious.
Afterwards, in the neighbour’s garden, he had plunged a pair of dressmaking scissors into his chest.
After the hearing the victim’s parents, Pamela and Charles Walsh, issued a statement saying, “We feel justice has been done as Robert Bailey starts his life sentence for the brutal and as described in court, sadistic murder of our precious daughter.
“Sadly nothing can bring Elaine back but we know she lives on through her three children.”