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80-year-old man sentenced for murdering wife in tragic domestic incident

|News, Violent crime , Domestic abuse

A man who murdered his wife has today been sentenced to life imprisonment with a minimum term of 21 years and 8 months at Swansea Crown Court.

David Clarke, 80, pleaded guilty to the murder of Helen Clarke, 77, on 22 September 2023, accepting that he attacked her repeatedly with a hammer before dousing her in petrol and setting the vehicle alight.

On the morning of 22 September 2023 David Clarke sent a text message to his children which read ‘I love you’. David and Helen Clarke were captured on CCTV leaving their home in the defendant’s vehicle at 7.48am. The vehicle was later seen parked on the pavement of Sketty Lane, the defendant could be seen accessing the boot and passenger side of the vehicle, where Helen Clarke was situated. Witnesses subsequently observed flames to the rear end of the vehicle before the defendant was seen to re-enter the driver’s side of the car.

People at the scene tried to gain access to the vehicle to assist the occupants. These attempts were unsuccessful, having been pushed away by the defendant. The defendant subsequently drove the vehicle into oncoming traffic before swerving into a hedge. The emergency services arrived shortly after.

Helen Clarke suffered multiple head injuries and significant burns to her body which led to her death two days later.

A lump hammer was recovered close to the scene.

David Clarke was sentenced to life imprisonment and ordered to serve a minimum term of 21 years and eight months.

Rebecca Carter of the CPS said: “Helen Clarke was murdered by her husband of 53 years in terrible circumstances. This has been a tragic case.  Our thoughts and sympathies go to Helen’s family at this difficult time”.

Notes to editors

  • Rebecca Carter is a Senior Crown Prosecutor in CPS Cymru Wales.
  • David CLARKE (DOB: 19/03/1943) pleaded guilty to murder at Swansea Crown Court on 8 December 2023.
  • Helen Clarke died on 24 September 2023 aged 77.

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