Murdered Leeds health boss ‘was warned not to break up with partner by herself’

Anthony Roberts and Guida Rufino.
Anthony Roberts and Guida Rufino.
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A mother-of-one was advised by a counsellor not to break up with her partner on her own before he stabbed her to death, an inquest heard.

Health company director Guida Rufino was murdered by Anthony Roberts, the father of her young daughter, on January, 31 this year, just over 24 hours after she had told him she wanted to end their relationship for good.

I do not believe she saw herself as a victim of domestic abuse.

Counsellor Lucy Stephenson

During the attack, the 38-year-old was punched, kicked and beaten by her former partner and tied to a chair before he stabbed her with a knife. Following advice Miss Rufino had received from the counsellor, her colleague, Johanna Coleman agreed to be with her during the break-up and the week afterwards.

But 37-year-old Mr Roberts took Miss Coleman’s phone and tied her up, placing her in another room where she had to listen to her friend’s final screams for help, an inquest was told this week.

Anthony then killed himself and was found in a bath filled with blood.

The inquest at Bradford Coroner’s Court heard Miss Rufino had began attending weekly counselling sessions in November 2015 - just two months before she was killed.

In the statement, read out by Coroner’s officer Sam Carliss, therapeutic counsellor Lucy Stephenson said: “The main focus of our sessions had become her and Tony’s relationship. She was very concerned about their finances. The money he earned was his and the money she earned was theirs.

“Gina and Tony had led a party lifestyle before the birth of their daughter. They took recreational drugs. Gina felt the wheels began coming off the relationship after they stopped as Tony did not want to settle down.”

She said: “I do not believe she saw herself as a victim of domestic abuse.”

However, she said that in their last counselling session together, Gina had taken a new attitude to the relationship.

Ms Stephenson said: “Gina seemed to be considering a life after her relationship with Tony. For the first time, she talked about ways to make it work as a single mother. I advised her not to have this conversation with Tony on her own.

“She advised me that friends would be there.”

Miss Rufino had told her friend Miss Coleman of her intention to ask her partner to move out of the house they shared in Bradford, and had asked her to stay with her for a week.

The couple’s two-year-old daughter is now in the care of her Guida’s mother, Cecilia Dacosta.

Assistant Coroner Martin Fleming ruled that Miss Rufino was unlawfully killed, giving the cause of her death as “haemorrhage due to multiple stab wounds and incised wounds”.

Dr Richard Shepard, a forensic psychologist, told the inquest at Bradford Coroner’s Court: “A deep incised injury across the throat caused damage to her thorax and major artery, which was the primary cause of death.”

He said she also suffered blunt force injuries, as well as minor cuts and bruises to her chest, arms and legs.

He added: “The minor injuries indicated a struggle.”

Ms Rufino was a director of a Leeds-based occupational health company.

Her business partner, Dr Jacqueline Senior, led tributes after the tragedy, describing her as a “devoted” mother.