A FORMER Todmorden man who battered his mistress to death in front of his stepson has been jailed for life.
Gary Chadwick, formerly of Banksfield Avenue, Mytholmroyd, bludgeoned "Fox Lady" Michelle Crossley with a rolling pin and hammer before repeatedly stabbing her.
Chadwick, 43, now of Redruth, admitted carrying out the killing as 21-year-old Adam Jinks looked on.
Chadwick grew up in Todmorden, attending Todmorden Secondary School and Todmorden High School. Last week Jinks, also formerly of Mytholmroyd and an ex-Calder High School pupil, admitted assisting Chadwick by disposing of the murder weapons.
He was sentenced to two years but freed immediately due to time served on remand.
Chadwick was told he will serve a minimum 13 years before being considered for parole.
Mr Justice Owen said: "You took the life of 39-year-old Michelle Crossley, with whom you were having an affair, in a brutal and sustained attack, hitting her violently over the head with a rolling pin and a hammer and then stabbing her."
The court heard the killing happened when Chadwick's relationship with Ms Crossley "ran out of control". He battered her to death at her home – Higher Carnbone Farm, near Helston, Cornwall, which she shared with her pet fox and dog.
Ms Crossley's mother, Ann Durkin, 66, of Sowerby Bridge, said after the case at Truro Crown Court: "My lovely daughter Michelle was the victim of a brutal and prolonged murderous attack. Nothing said or done will ever bring her back.
"I came here to see justice done and have been sorely disappointed.
"One man, Adam Jinks, watched while the murder took place. He helped dispose of the murder weapons and walked free without having to face a jury or even having the public hear the sickening evidence.
"No sentence given to Gary Chadwick will ever be long enough, no punishment too severe."
She added that she and her remaining daughters, Amanda and Paula, would have to live with the murder for the rest of their lives.
Ms Crossley grew up in Soyland and attended the former Halifax Catholic High School at Holmfield.
She lived at Cragg Road, Cragg Vale and worked at Banson Tool Hire, Pellon Lane, Halifax, before moving to Cornwall 11 years ago with her second husband, Kenwyn Crossley.
After her funeral in January, her ashes were brought back to Soyland.