'Like so much violence against women, you tried to blame the victim' - man 'lay in wait' for estranged wife then murdered her as their daughter slept in next bedroom

A man who brutally murdered his estranged wife in a 'planned and carefully executed attack' inside her home as one of their two young children slept in the next bedroom has been jailed for a minimum of 23 years.

Aubrey Pule Padi, 46, 'lay in wait' for Tamara Padi to return home - even setting the alarm on his mobile phone so he could sleep and 'ensure that your wife would be asleep before you attacked her', a judge said as she passed a life sentence on him

Mrs Padi, 43 - described as a 'lovely, bubbly, outgoing, professional woman' - worked as a carer and was out on a late-night care visit.

Manchester Crown Court heard she returned home to Stalybridge, at 1.30am on July 7 with a work colleague, and both went to sleep.

By then Padi had 'concealed himself' in her house after letting himself in armed with knives, a hammer, gloves and a length of cord, the court was told.

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The court heard that at 3.30am, after his alarm went off, he 'set about' her with a metal 'pull up exercise bar'.

Mrs Padi was pronounced dead later in hospital after her work colleague found her seriously injured.

The court heard that 'mercifully', their daughter slept through the horror.

The family watched in court as Padi, of Carrfield, Hyde, pleaded guilty to one count of murder.

He sobbed and looked away from his children as judge Elizabeth Nicholls passed sentence on Tuesday.

Then, after leaving her in the bedroom, he returned to stab her eight times with one of two kitchen knives he had brought with him.

The court heard the couple separated in early 2021 after 14 years of marriage and 'several years together' before that.

The relationship is said to have broken down and divorce proceedings were 'imminent'.

Richard Pratt QC, prosecuting, said on July 6, Padi punched Mrs Padi in the face when she wouldn't let him use her mobile phone in her car. Two weeks earlier, she had caught him going through her voicemails on her phone.

And she had earlier described, in voicemail messages intercepted by police, his conduct towards her as 'creepy' - adding that he was 'driving her away'.

On the night, after the punch, he sent her 'apologetic and threatening' text messages' - with one ending: "This is the last time you have disrespected me."

Sentencing, Judge Nicholls said of the murder: "In that moment the defendant effectively deprived their children of both parents, one through death, the other by the annihilation of trust in their father, who up until that moment they believed they knew and loved."

Judge Nicholls said Mrs Padi was scared of him.

You waited in the house for your wife to return from a late-night care visit, knowing that your daughter slept in the adjoining bedroom," she said. "So clear and considered were your intentions, you even set your phone alarm giving yourself a chance to sleep and ensuring that your wife would be asleep before you attacked her."

The court heard Padi ran away but rang 999 and confessed to an ambulance control centre call operator, adding that he was going to kill himself.

"I am sorry for what I have done, but she deserved it," he said to the operator, the court heard.

Padi was arrested later after he told officers where he was. He had drunk whiskey and taken paracetamol.

Their other daughter, who was asleep at his house, was unhurt.

Judge Nicholls said of Padi's 999 call: "Your conversation is full of self-pity, justification for your conduct.

"Like so much violence against women, you tried to place the blame upon the victim, suggesting that she had wronged you and that you were driven to this conduct. Even going so far as to say she 'deserved it'.

"And what type of parental love is it that lies alongside your child while waiting to murder her mother?

"There are no excuses and no fault lies with the victim, Tamara. This offence is entirely your responsibility. No woman should have to endure at the hands of a man what Tamara did in her final hours."

The court heard the couple came to the UK from South Africa to work. Mrs Padi had a Masters qualification in law.

After the split, they remained in regular contact and launched a business together called Green Leaf Health and Social Care Ltd, a care provision company for adults.

Prosecutor Mr Pratt said the attack on Mrs Padi took place in two bedrooms and she fought to protect herself.

"He effectively lay in wait for his wife to return," he said.

"He must have realised that his daughter was in the house also.

"The defendant left the room believing her dead, but returned when he heard a noise and stabbed her some eight times. There were numerous, defensive-type injuries."

Stephen Meadowcroft QC, defending, said it was 'undoubtedly a shocking, tragic and very sad case'.

"Those who knew Tamara and the defendant were shocked by what happened," he said.

Padi, the court heard, was described by friends as having a 'calm and caring nature' and as a 'loving father'.

He had no previous convictions.

Addressing him, Judge Nicholls said the offence was 'beyond any of your friend's and family's comprehension'.

But she added: "Some suggest that you must have suffered a breakdown, however no medical evidence, nor any evidence has been presented to suggest that mental health issues had any part to play in this offence.

"You may have been stressed and distressed by your work and or divorce, but neither explain the brutality displayed."

Detective Inspector Lee Shaw, of GMP's Major Incident Team, said outside court: "My thoughts go out to the victim's family, especially her two daughters who have been through a tremendous amount of trauma and upset over the past few months.

They've shown an enormous amount of strength and courage throughout the process of this investigation, and for that, I thank them.

"The actions of Aubrey Padi are incomprehensible."


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