Partner of detective jailed for murder after changing plea

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A FORMER detective has been jailed for life after admitting the brutal murder of his partner – a policewoman from York – before dumping her body in a shallow woodland grave.

Peter Foster had previously pleaded not guilty to killing Detective Constable Heather Cooper, the mother of his two children, whose funeral was held at York Minster last November.

But yesterday, Foster, a 36-year-old former detective constable who was trained in martial arts, changed his plea to guilty at Lewes Crown Court.

The court was told he hit her over the head 10 times with a baseball bat before stabbing her in the throat at their home in Surrey in front of the couple’s two young children, Joshua, now three, and Isabel, who was three-months-old at the time.

Sentencing Foster to life with a minimum term of 17 years, Judge Richard Brown described him as an “extremely dangerous individual”.

“This was a wicked, savage and senseless attack on a young mother in her own home,” he said.

“Not only have you taken her life, you have also deprived Joshua and Isabel of a loving mother and, no doubt, devastated her family and friends.”

The court heard that Foster claimed Miss Cooper, who grew up in York and joined Surrey Police in 2003, had attacked him and he initially acted in self-defence.

Benjamin Aina QC, prosecuting, said after carrying out the stabbing, he cleaned up the crime scene and took Miss Cooper’s body to Blackdown Woods, West Sussex, where he covered it with bracken.

He then sent a number of text messages in a bid to create an alibi for himself. In one, he concocted a story that she had found out he had been having an affair and was leaving him.

Philippa McAtasney QC, defending, said Foster, who resigned from the police in 2010 after being caught driving over the limit, had expressed “genuine remorse” and attempted suicide while on remand.