Husband jailed for minimum 15 years for beating, strangling and dumping Abi Fisher’s body in a layby

A husband who beat and strangled his teacher wife to death before dumping her body in a layby has been handed a life sentence and must serve a minimum 15 years.

Murderer Matthew Fisher killed the mother of his baby, 29-year-old Abi Fisher, at their home in Castleford in July for reasons that remain unknown, before bundling her body into his car and driving to a secluded spot.

He then raised the alarm the next day, telling her family and friends that he had woken up and she was missing, having left their six-month-old baby behind.

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But after diligent police work, checking his phone and ANPR cameras, they were able to ascertain where he had been the previous night.

Matthew Fisher was jailed today.Matthew Fisher was jailed today.
Matthew Fisher was jailed today.

Her body was found in undergrowth near Hemsworth, partially clothed.

Crucially, gaffer tape at the scene contained Matthew Fisher’s fingerprints.

After his arrest, he was charged with her murder and eventually pleaded guilty during a hearing at Leeds Crown Court in September.

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However, the account he provided as to how Abi died did not match up with the pathologist’s report.

Abi Fisher was murdered by her husband.Abi Fisher was murdered by her husband.
Abi Fisher was murdered by her husband.

During his sentencing today, Judge Tom Bayliss KC called Fisher “cold-hearted and calculated”.

He said: “Abigail was 29-years-old when she died. No sentence of the court can compensate for that loss.

"I’m quite sure that you strangled her but before that you subjected her to a serious assault.

"I’m quite sure you intended to kill her.

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Abi Fisher was murdered in the summer by her husband.Abi Fisher was murdered in the summer by her husband.
Abi Fisher was murdered in the summer by her husband.

"You tried to lie your way out of the fact you killed your wife. All these lies were calculated to save yourself.”

Prosecuting, James Lake said that Matthew and Abi Fisher met at school and married in June 2016.

Days before Abi’s disappearance, they had enjoyed a family christening for their baby daughter.

Abi was a teacher Featherstone All Saints CofE Academy and he worked part time for Care Link.

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On the morning of July 9 he called police and Abi’s family and friends telling them his wife had disappeared from their home in the night.

He claimed she was upset about having to go back to work full time after her maternity leave.

Mr Lake said: “It was all plainly lies to cover up what he had actually done.”

Frantic searches were carried out in the area by police, family and friends.

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However, police trawled ANPR cameras and CCTV and found that Fisher’s Peugeot was spotted leaving Castleford in the early hours of July 9 and returned at around 9.30am.

His phone also “mirrored” this after being picked up on various telephone masts.

This led officers to Abi’s body in the layby, after a phone mast caught him in that specific area for a longer period of time.

He was arrested and charged days later.

He eventually admitted murder, but told a psychiatrist that Abi had slipped and hit her head, and then directed an outburst at Fisher about being unhappy.

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He claimed he “lost it” and smothered her with a nearby T-shirt. He then waited for several hours before bundling her into the boot of his car.

He left his six-month-old baby at home as he drove along the M62 to Lancashire, Derbyshire and then to South Yorkshire where he eventually dumped Abi.

However, the doctor said his version of what happened failed to take into account the number of blunt-force trauma injuries she suffered to he face, head and chest.

Mitigating, James Littlehales, said: “Nothing I can say is intended to excuse this heinous act.

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“He does acknowledge the suffering he has caused. The suffering will be with her family and friends for the rest of their lives.

"He is remorseful, but that may be a small crumb of comfort.

"It’s clear more happened than he acknowledged.”

Speaking after the sentencing hearing, Detective Inspector Amanda Wimbles, of the Homicide and Major Enquiry Team, said: “Abi was someone who was loved by many, and this was a horrendous crime that understandably shocked and devastated the local community. Matthew Fisher’s actions that day have ensured that their young daughter will now grow up without either parent.

“I hope that the swift justice and custodial sentence that Matthew Fisher has been given provides some comfort to Abi’s family and friends as they continue to come to terms with their loss.

“I would now ask for sensitivity and privacy on behalf of Abi’s family as they focus on raising Abi’s much-loved daughter.”