Norfolk murder trial update: killer will serve minimum of 22 years

A Norfolk man has been found guilty of murdering his wife.

A jury at Norwich Crown Court took four hours to find 29-year-old Nick Ward guilty of murder.

Ward cried in the dock as Judge Peter Jacobs delivered the sentence which he said was aggravated by the fact that he had concealed the body and had not told investigators and the family where it was.

'There is no body to cremate or bury and therefore the family have been denied the closure that those who lose children in horrendous circumstance are entitled to have', said Judge Jacobs.

Outside court, Mrs Ward's brother, Alex Noonan, read a statement on behalf of her family. He said: 'Today justice has been done. The last year has been the most traumatic and stressful time for us all as a family. I cannot begin to imagine the pain and terror Emma must have felt. It is so unbearable to think about.

'We are all truly devastated by having my sister taken from us in such a cruel way. We have not been able to grieve for Emma because we do not know where she is.

'All we want is to be given the opportunity to say our final goodbyes and let her rest in peace. If Nick Ward has any remorse he must do the decent thing and tell us where he has put Emma.

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'Emma was a beautiful young woman and a fantastic sister and a truly loved daughter. She will be so missed by all.

'Emma will never be forgotten. She will always be loved and will always be in our thoughts.'

In his closing speech at Norwich Crown Court, prosecutor Simon Spence described Ward as a 'cold and calculating' killer and asked jurors to dismiss the 'pathetic down-trodden demeanour' he had presented to jurors while giving evidence.

Mr Spence added that attempts by Ward's counsel to blacken the character of his alleged victim Emma Ward 'paled into insignificance alongside the enormity and horror of what he did'.

Ward, of Chapel Street, Rockland St Peter, near Attleborough, had denied murdering Mrs Ward, 22, between early April and late May last year. The prosecution said that he killed his wife before cutting up her body in the bath with a saw and then disposing of the body. No trace of Mrs Ward has ever been found.

Ward had claimed he killed Mrs Ward in self-defence and then blocked the memory out until December when he realised what he had done.

He told the court he had no recollection of dismembering the body and then redecorating and cleaning their cottage in a bid to cover his tracks. Despite these attempts forensic evidence, including Mrs Ward's blood, was found inside the house.

Defence barrister Joanna Greenberg said during the trial that Ward had acted like 'a rabbit caught in the headlights, not knowing how to face up to what he had done'.

Judge Peter Jacobs summed up the trial by presenting both the prosecution and defence cases to the jury. The jury retired at 10.40am.

Visit this website later for more details of the verdict and background.

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