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Life sentence for Derby domestic murder

|News, Violent crime

A substance user from Derby has been jailed for life for the murder of his wife in February 2022 in their family home.

Conrad Iyayi (46) killed his wife Kathryn in the middle of the night in a sustained attack using three kitchen knives. The next morning, he left the house and called the police from a nearby telephone box to alert them to Kathryn’s death.

He was arrested outside the house and charged with Kathryn’s murder. Iyayi maintained that he had no knowledge of what had happened because he was under the influence of a substance he had obtained online which he believed was methadone, but had left him in a dream-like state and unaware of his own actions.

Iyayi was charged with murder. He admitted that he had killed Kathryn but pleaded guilty to manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility because he had been under the influence of the substance he had taken. Once his trial got under way, on 2 August, he pleaded guilty to Kathryn’s murder. He was today, Friday 18 August sentenced to life imprisonment with a minimum term of 18 years.

Graham Heathcote from the CPS said: “One of the most distressing things about Kathryn’s tragic death is that we have no understanding why Conrad Iyayi did what he did that night.

“He has claimed he was under the influence of substances and has sought throughout this prosecution to avoid responsibility for his actions.

“The evidence painted a very clear picture that this was a sustained and brutal attack on an unsuspecting, defenceless woman in her family home.

“I hope that seeing justice served for Kathryn will be of some comfort to her family and loved ones. Our hearts go out to them for their loss.”

Building the case:

The issue in this case was whether Conrad Iyayi had intended to kill or do serious harm to Kathryn. Having admitted he killed her, he claimed he was not fully responsible for his actions due to the influence of the substances he had taken and pleaded to manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility.

The CPS did not accept this explanation and continued to trial on the basis of murder.

A partial defence of diminished responsibility is for the defence to prove. Iyayi’s defence representatives instructed an expert who concluded that Iyayi may not have acted as he had, were it not for the influence of the drug he had taken.

The CPS in response served evidence that the substance found in the house was just methadone, which was unlikely to have created the dream-like state described by Iyayi. A psychiatric expert instructed by the prosecution concluded that Iyayi was not likely to have lost control of his actions in the way he described. As is often the case, the two experts discussed their findings together before the trial and concluded that there could not be a defence of diminished responsibility.

Despite this, Iyayi did not plead guilty until a trial started on 31 July. Once the case had been opened, he finally pleaded guilty to murder.

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