Husband hit wife’s head 19 times with axe then phoned 999 to confess murder

Husband hit wife’s head 19 times with axe then phoned 999 to confess murder

An estranged husband who beat his wife to death with an axe after being told to sell the family home has been jailed.

Stephen Booth, 64, waited for his wife Susan, 62, to finish work before striking her head 19 times on her driveway.

He then called the police to confess the brutal murder, but when no officers turned up, he got a taxi home and phoned again.

Prosecutor Davie Toal said when officers arrived to arrest him he was still on the phone to the operator and had the axe in his pocket.

A court heard Booth said if he went to prison it would ‘not be any more painful than the pain I am going through now’.

Booth had two children with Susan, a healthcare assistant, who he married in 1980.

Their relationship broke down in 2017, and Susan moved out of the marital home in Oldham, Greater Manchester, where Booth remained and ‘frustrated’ the sale of the property.

Stephen Booth, 64, plotted to kill his wife after learning he had to sell the family home (Picture: MEN Media)

When he learned his wife would get half of the money from the sale, he hatched a plan to kill her.

Booth was told to leave the home on the day of the murder on May 4. He later said he decided to kill his wife while booking a taxi to her home for that evening.

Defence counsel Ian McMeekin said Booth, who pleaded guilty to murder, wished to apologise to family members in the court room.

He said: ‘He has asked me to say on his behalf because he is not able to say it how sorry he is to the family of Susan.’

Judge Patrick Field QC jailed Booth for life with a minimum of 22 years for the ‘brutal and shocking’ killing.

He told him: ‘You have pleaded guilty to the murder of your own wife Susan Booth on the 4th of May this year.

‘You murdered her in cold blood on the driveway of her own home, striking her at least 19 times about the head with an axe you had brought with you.

‘This was a planned and premeditated attack with the intention to kill her even though she was blameless and had done nothing to provoke your extraordinary and brutal actions.

‘The killing of Susan Booth was brutal and shocking.’

In an emotional statement, Susan’s family said: ‘Mum was the epitome of caring, both in her professional and personal life.

‘If you knew her, you would have known that nothing was too much trouble, and she would help anyone who needed it.

‘She was dedicated to her three grandchildren, who were the light of her life and will be deeply missed by all of us.’

Senior Investigating Officer Duncan Thorpe said: ‘This was a tragic event where a family has lost a cherished mother and grandmother.

‘It is a complex and saddening case, and our specially trained officers are continuing to support the Booth family. Our thoughts and sympathies remain with them.’