A FORMER bookkeeper has been found guilty of murdering a 20-year-old woman who he raped and strangled after finding her in a drunken state outside a nightclub.
Fantasist and loner Edward Tenniswood claimed he had consensual sex with India Chipchase, who was less than half his age, and that her death in his squalid Northampton home in the early hours of January 30 was a result of his “over-eagerness” in bed.
He had promised to “get her home safe” after finding her outside the club.
But instead he raped and strangled her, leaving her with more than 30 injuries.
After killing the young woman, 52-year-old Tenniswood told a jury he “cuddled up” to her lifeless body and then sat and drank in a hotel bar for 22 hours until the police came to arrest him.
A Birmingham Crown Court jury took just one hour and 45 minutes to convict Tenniswood of Stanley Road, Northampton, of rape and murder after a two-week trial. He was jailed for life with a minimum term of 30 years.
Tenniswood claimed he once dated a world famous cover girl in a bid to convince the jury of his innocence.
He stood in the witness box and held out his hand to the prosecutor saying “I will bet you £100” after alleging he had dated Heather Stewart-Whyte in the late 1980s.
He kept a cutting of a picture of Ms Stewart-Whyte - who bore a striking resemblance to Ms Chipchase - and had a letter from the model from February 1987 among his belongings.
In a statement issued after the trial, the former fashion model denied knowing 52-year-old Tenniswood.
Judge Mr Justice John Saunders QC had ordered the press not to report Tenniswood’s claim until the end of the trial for fear any comments on the claim could prejudice the jury.
Giving evidence in his defence, he was asked by his own barrister, Samuel Stein QC, about newspaper cuttings of Ms Stewart-Whyte, the pop group Little Mix and two other women in his kitchen.
Tenniswood said: “I’m always hoarding magazines and newspapers, clippings.
“These individuals are extremely similar to ex-girlfriends of mine.
“Rather than just have the whole place covered in dusty dust sheets, they’re ornaments, memories of ex-girlfriends.
“Nothing more interesting than that.”
During cross-examination, Tenniswood had been asked by the Crown’s QC Christopher Donnellan why he kept the clippings.
Tenniswood said: “They remind me of ex-girlfriends.”
He said: “I’ve had a hugely unsuccessful life but have been very lucky and had some very attractive ex-girfriends.
“Including one, I am not ashamed to say, who is the fashion model Heather Stewart-Whyte, who went on to get married with Yannick Noah and have two kids.”
The jury had heard that by the time of the chance meeting with Ms Chipchase, she was “drunk” and “upset”, according to friends she was out with that night.
Tenniswood would later claim the plan was always to return to his home for a drink.
But as Ms Chipchase was led from the nightclub the worse for wear earlier that night, bouncer David Burry recalled her repeatedly telling him: “I just want to go home.”
The bouncer took her to a taxi cab but, according to the driver, she “threw a wobbly” when asked to pay the fare in advance and got out to lean against the nightclub’s wall.
At 1.11am, Tenniswood arrived at NB’s nightclub, with CCTV showing him turning to look at Ms Chipchase, who was standing alone using her phone, before homing in on her minutes later.
Tenniswood could be seen craning his head over Ms Chipchase and putting his arm around her in what he described as a “paternal way”.
A witness overheard him say: “’We’ll make sure we get you home in a taxi safely’.”
He led Ms Chipchase, who had almost three times the drink-drive limit of alcohol in her blood, to a waiting cab but kept changing his destination rather than give his address.
At Tenniswood’s home, where almost every inch of the grim floors was covered with newspaper, he raped his victim with her clothes on and then “squeezed the life” out of her, the prosecution said.
In his account, Tenniswood said the “kinky” idea to strangle Ms Chipchase had been at her direction and her death was an accident.
He claimed: “I, in my over-eagerness to please her, either sustained the pressure just too long or just gripped too tightly.”
However, there were signs of a struggle and Tenniswood’s blood was found under his victim’s fingernail while scratches were found on his neck and arm.
Tenniswood later described “cuddling up” to Ms Chipchase as she lay dead on the mattress claiming he just thought his victim was in a deep sleep or a coma.
But instead of raising the alarm, he went to get a kebab and then to a nearby hotel where he drank lager and even accessed a news website showing the widening missing person search for his victim.
He was still in the hotel lobby when police officers arrested him on suspicion of murder, having traced the signal from his victim’s phone to his terraced house on Stanley Road.
Tenniswood told police: “You know who I am - Edward.
He added: “I’m surprised you were so quick, it didn’t take you long to find me.”
Then he said: “I suppose you’ve been to the house - you’ve found what you’re looking for.”
Inside the rucksack he was carrying during his arrest was a kitchen knife and a pair of latex gloves.
He told the court he used a pair of those gloves to re-clothe and pull a sheet over his victim’s body so she would not be cold.
Tenniswood told the jury: “It’s a traumatic experience when dressing a body.”
Christopher Donnellan, for the Crown, told the jury: “What does that comment tell you about him?
“He’s only full of his own self-pity, entirely self-centred.”