Judges uphold killer’s sentence

A killer who bludgeoned and stabbed a Leeds woman to death, then kept the location of her body a secret for 14 years, has been told by top judges his sentence was richly deserved.

Gemma Simpson's murderer Martin Bell

Martin Christopher Bell killed 23-year-old Gemma Simpson in 2000, but her remains were not discovered until last year.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

The 46-year-old, of St Leonard’s Crescent, Scarborough, was jailed for life at Leeds Crown Court in December, after admitting manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility. He was ordered to serve at least 12 years behind bars before he can even apply for parole. Bell challenged his minimum term at London’s Criminal Appeal Court, with his lawyers arguing it violated his human rights but his appeal was dismissed by three of the country’s most senior judges. Bell killed Miss Simpson, from Leeds, in May 2000, just six weeks after being discharged from a hospital where he had been detained for nine months under the Mental Health Act. He struck her repeatedly with a hammer and stabbed her, telling her ‘God wants me to kill you’. Her body, which Bell buried at Brimham Rocks, near Harrogate, was not found until he walked into a Scarborough police station to confess in July last year.

Lady Justice Macur, sitting with Mr Justice Green and Judge Neil Bidder QC, said the crown court judge’s reasoning was ‘entirely sound’ and that Bell had chosen to thwart any effort to bring him to justice in 2000 by concealing Miss Simpson’s body.

Gemma Simpson