A middle-aged fantasist raped and murdered a drunk young woman in what a judge labelled a “crime of utter depravity” after luring his victim back to his squalid home.
Friendless loner Edward Tenniswood will serve at least 30 years behind bars after killing India Chipchase, who was less than half his age, after a Birmingham Crown Court jury took just an hour and 45 minutes to convict him.
Tenniswood, branded a “predator” by police, promised to “get her home safe” after finding the 20-year-old in a drunken state outside NB’s nightspot in Northampton in the early hours of January 30.
But instead he attacked her, leaving Ms Chipchase — the ex-girlfriend of former New Zealand All Black Bruce Reihana’s son, Evaan Reihana — with more than 30 injuries.
After the killing, 52-year-old Tenniswood told a jury he “cuddled up” to her lifeless body in an upstairs bedroom of his Stanley Road home and then sat and drank in a hotel bar for 22 hours until the police came to arrest him.
The court heard how Tenniswood, who had no previous convictions, was caught by mobile phone signals linked to his handset and a police officer who recognised a still of his image taken off the nightclub’s CCTV.
When officers smashed their way through Tenniswood’s front door on January 31, they found Ms Chipchase, who had wanted to be a paramedic, lying dead on a mattress upstairs with a sheet across her.
In court, her attacker claimed the sex had been consensual and that Ms Chipchase’s death in his grim rented terraced home had been down to his “over-eagerness” in bed.
But the jury swiftly rejected the account of a man described by his own lawyer as an “oddball”, and who kept newspaper clippings of women.
Sentencing, the judge said: “This was a terrible crime. It was committed because the defendant was determined to satisfy his own sexual desires on an attractive and much younger woman. It was a crime of utter depravity.”
Tenniswood sat in the court dock in silence staring at the floor, flanked by four prison guards, as the judge labelled him a “strange man” who had taken advantage of his vulnerable young victim.
Judge Saunders said: “To lose a child at any time and for any reason is a tragedy but to lose a daughter in the way that India’s parents did is unimaginable.”
He said no sentence could compensate the family’s loss.
The judge said “I have no doubt that he was very persuasive and convinced India in her befuddled state to come with him, promising her that she would be safe.”
He said her killing had been “entirely deliberate”.
In a statement read to court, the victim’s grieving mother Sue Chipchase said her daughter “lit up a room” adding: “Her death has left a huge void in all our lives and her siblings are quiet and subdued without her.”
Tenniswood was also handed a 12-year sentence for rape to be served concurrent to his life term.
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