A man who battered his girlfriend to death with a crowbar has been jailed for life.Advertisement
Benjamin Topping admitted killing Rosie Darbyshire in Ribbleton in February.
The body of the 27-year-old was found on the street in Pope Lane during the early hours of Thursday 7 February.
Topping, 25, of St George’s Road, Deepdale, was in a relationship with the young mother.
A man and woman saw Topping attacking someone around 2am and called the police.
Topping was seen continuing to deliver blows to her head and body as she lay unconscious on the ground.
He then turned on the witnesses and brandished the crowdbar at them.
When officers arrived at the scene Topping threw his weapon at a third person and ran to the rear of a property in Pope Lane. He was arrested a short time later, spitting at police officers who detained him.
Police said when Rosie’s body was found she had been ‘beaten beyond recognition’.
A post mortem examination revealed she had severe head and facial injuries and had been struck at least 50 times.
She also had bruising an cuts to her arms and hands from trying to defend herself.
Read more: Mourners gathered to say goodbye to Rosie Darbyshire
Topping was jailed for life with a minimum term of 20 years for Rosie’s murder during a sentencing at Preston Crown Court on Thursday 23 May.
“Firstly, my thoughts, as well as those of my team, are with Rosie’s family at this dreadfully difficult time.
“This was a senseless murder where a talented, defenceless young lady needlessly lost her life in the most appalling way. What’s worse is that she died close to the community where she lived.
“Ben Topping is a dangerous individual who attacked Rosie with such savagery, she was unrecognisable and died almost straightaway. He has left a nine-year-old boy without a mother and a family who will never be the same again.
“I am pleased that he has pleaded guilty, sparing Rosie’s family the further trauma of having to sit through a trial.
“My thanks goes to them, as well as my team of officers who worked tirelessly to get justice for Rosie. I would also like to thank the community of Preston, particularly the people of Moor Nook and Ribbleton, who have supported us during this challenging investigation.
“Lastly, I welcome the sentence handed down by His Lordship Judge Brown and hope that it goes some way to achieving justice for Rosie and her family and friends.”
A statement said: “We are relieved that a guilty plea has been given. No sentence will ever feel enough to show the value of Rosie’s life and the loss we feel. We want to thank the police involved in Rosie’s case and the prosecutor. They have treated the case, us as a family and Rosie’s memory with invaluable respect and dignity.
“Now we are no longer stuck in limbo we will try to live our new reality and ensure that Rosie’s son lives a happy life and will always share memories of his beautiful mum.”
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