Man stabs girlfriend to death because she wanted to leave him

A 29-year-old man who stabbed his girlfriend to death in Sheffield after she told him she wanted to end the relationship was jailed for life today and told he must serve a minimum of 15 years.

A judge heard how Polish student Weronika Gospodarczyk, 23, had 44 separate wounds on her body after she was attacked by Colin Campbell at her flat last year.

Campbell murdered Miss Gospodarczyk after she told him she wanted them to split and then received a text message from a friend.

Sheffield Crown Court was told how the defendant stabbed her repeatedly with a kitchen knife. When that weapon got stuck in her hand, he reached for another knife and continued the assault. She had severe injuries to her face, neck and upper body.

Campbell, who admitted murder, later told lawyers he was "mystified by what happen".

The judge heard how the couple first met when Miss Gospodarczyk - who was from Radom, which is about 40 miles south of the Polish capital, Warsaw - visited Sheffield on a school exchange trip in 2005.

She later returned to the city to study for a BSc in Tourism Management at Sheffield Hallam University and she bumped into Campbell again in a nightclub.

Fiona Swain, prosecuting, said the defendant showed signs of jealousy throughout their "tumultuous" relationship even though he was seeing other women behind her back.

The court heard how Campbell would self-harm in order to earn his girlfriend's sympathy.

Campbell snapped and attacked Miss Gospodarczyk in the kitchen at her flat in September last year.

The court heard how someone in a neighbouring flat heard a "loud, shrill, high-pitched scream" which went on for several seconds.

Another neighbour arrived to see Campbell attacking Miss Gospodarczyk and said he looked like "he'd lost all control".

Police arrived to find the defendant covered in blood and arrested him. He told officers: "She said she was going to leave me."

Mrs Swain said Miss Gospodarczyk's family had made a statement which said: "The whole family have been left in turmoil, sadness, anger, distress and helplessness. They're feelings which will never go away."

Adrian Waterman QC, defending, explained how his client was consumed with jealousy because he could not believe he was in a meaningful relationship with someone so "intelligent, beautiful, vivacious and fun-loving".

Campbell, of Clinton Walk, Broomhall, Sheffield, admitted one count of murder.

He showed no emotion as he sat in the dock dressed in a black t-shirt and with closely shaved hair.

Sentencing Campbell, the judge, Mrs Justice Rafferty, said: "This was an attack, founded in resentment and jealousy, on a young woman whom you sought to possess."

Quoting the statement of a psychiatrist in the case, the judge continued: "It is difficult to comprehend that such a brutal and sustained series of attacks - from punching his much smaller partner to the extent that he has significant swelling to his right hand, pursued her downstairs and then engaged in a knife attack upon her with two knives - could be mediated by the revelation that the relationship between then was at an end."

The judge said the "brutality of the attack", which took place in a flat on Seabrook Road, Sheffield, was an aggravating factor.

She sentenced Campbell to life in prison and said he could not be considered for release for 15 years.

Detective Sergeant Lee Kayne, of South Yorkshire Police, said: "The murder of Weronika Gospodarcyzk is nothing short of a tragedy.

"Weronika was a well-liked, 23-year-old student who had come to the UK to receive an education and had worked here to fund that education. She had learnt to speak English fluently and was excelling at her studies, a degree in tourism management at Sheffield Hallam University."

The officer said: "The loss of Weronika has created a void in her family that cannot be filled.

"Her death has also been felt by members of the local community and by staff and friends at Sheffield Hallam University."

Miss Gospodarcyzk's family released a statement saying she had always dreamed of studying in England and was in her third year of her degree.

They said she visited them all in Poland last summer before returning to Sheffield.

The statement said: "We said farewell, convinced we should meet again at Christmas.

"Sadly, 10 days later, on September 24, our Weronika was no more.

"That crushing news reached us on the evening of September 26. It is impossible to describe how we felt at that dreadful time ... terrible pain.

"We still cannot believe we should never see her again.

"Why did it have to happen? She was clever, young, aspiring.

"We still think we will pick her up from the airport when the holidays come, that she will phone or we will talk on Skype.

"Sadly, the phone is silent.

"What remains of our beloved daughter is books, clothes, photographs, memories.

"In our thoughts, she will forever be that gentle, joyful and smiling Weronika."