VERDICT: Man who almost split his partner’s liver in two found guilty of murder
A MAN who almost split his partner’s liver in two has been convicted of murder.
Charlie Booth, 27, of Albert Road, in Saltaire, was found guilty of murder at Leeds Crown Court on Tuesday.
The 27-year-old had already admitted to killing his partner of 11 years and mother of his two children, Lauren Howe, on July 24 last year.
His defence, and version of events, was that he punched Ms Howe in the stomach “without thinking” but the 12 jurors have decided Booth did in fact intend to cause serious harm or kill his partner.
The jury had been out deliberating for just under a day before returning a verdict on Tuesday, with the trial beginning on January 25.
Booth murdered the mother of his children in a “jealous rage” on July 24, fatally injuring her liver – suffering a 10cm long and 5cm deep laceration that led to catastrophic bleeding.
Those who tried to desperately save Ms Howe outside the flats where Booth had brought her body said she looked “blue”, “grey” and “lifeless”.
The prosecution claimed Booth tortured Ms Howe in their flat off Tennis Way – where they had lived for around four years – and hit her “harder than he had ever hit her before."
She had walked home from a party, taking roughly two hours, and returned at around 8.30am.
Within less than an hour, Booth was carrying her “lifeless” body out from the flat to outside a neighbour’s property, desperately seeking help.
Booth had been ringing various people on the phone he shared with Ms Howe throughout the night to try locate her.
This included her sister, Leigha Howe, who had invited Ms Howe round to hers, before she moved onto the party.
Paramedics worked on Ms Howe at the scene but she died there, with her death later certified at hospital.
The court heard over the course of the trial that the relationship - which began when they were both 14 to 15, the age they had their first child too – was volatile.
Witnesses, including Stevie Hodgson-Curtley - a friend of Ms Howe's - and two of her sisters - Leigha and 18-year-old Lily Anne Howe - told the jury of a number of instances where Booth had been violent towards his partner.
This included punching Ms Howe in her face while she had hold of one of their children and headbutting her in a snicket before dragging her by her hair down Haworth Road.
Booth himself said there were trust issues and that there was violence on both parts.
The 27-year-old will be setenced on Thursday morning at 10am, at Leeds Crwon Court.