Husband handed life sentence for killing wife in ‘sustained’ attack
PUBLISHED: 16:09 10 April 2018 | UPDATED: 16:27 10 April 2018
A Nailsea man murdered his wife by stabbing her 10 times – and told a disbelieving friend hours before the attack what he planned to do.
Andrew Tavener, aged 45, was handed a life sentence at Bristol Crown Court today (Tuesday) after killing 27-year-old Claire Tavener.
He must serve at least 16 years before he can be considered for release.
Kerry Maylin, prosecuting, said Tavener told friends his marriage was over when he went out drinking in Weymouth on January 7.
He was taken home but was reportedly very emotional and repeatedly said his world had fallen apart.
On arriving at their family home in Brendon Gardens, Tavener said he would stab Claire to death with a knife, but his friend thought he was joking.
Claire’s dead body was found early on January 8 by her children. She had been stabbed in the neck, chest, lower back, thigh and shin following a ‘sustained’ attack, according to Ms Maylin.
Police set off after Tavener and arrested him at Nailsea & Backwell Railway Station later that same morning, where he admitted killing his wife.
He was seen on the track and suffered a hand injury after saying he planned to take his own life.
He spent three weeks in hospital before being charged with murder. His hand remained bandaged up at today’s hearing.
Tavener pleaded guilty to murder when in court last month.
Ms Maylin said two domestic violence incidents were reported to police before Claire’s death – although Tavener disputes them. One report included an allegation Tavener punched his wife while she was at the top of the stairs.
James Bennett, defending, said Tavener was of previous good character and remorseful.
However, Judge Peter Blair QC, addressing Tavener, said: “What you did was unspeakably cruel and traumatising to your children.”
Claire had two boys and worked at the Old Farmhouse pub in Nailsea.
Within 48 hours of her murder, an online fundraising campaign was started up with proceeds going to her sons.
An initial £1,000 target was surpassed and the total stands at more than £15,000.
Detective Inspector Mike Buck, of the Major Crime Investigation Team, said: “Claire’s brutal murder has devastated her family and I know it will take them a long, long time to adjust to life without her.
“Her boys have to grow up not just without their mother, but with the knowledge that their father is responsible for her death.
“This was a senseless crime and one which we have been given no explanation for as Tavener refused to answer any questions in interview.
“Claire’s boys, along with the rest of her family, have shown tremendous resilience and courage in dealing with this tragedy and my heart goes out to them as they continue to rebuild their lives.”
In a statement, Claire’s family said: “Our lives now, will never be the same. Nothing can bring back our daughter.
“Claire was a very special young woman loved by so many. We will miss her love for life, positive outlook and sense of humour.
“Now, because of her unnecessary tragic death, she will never see her boys grow up.
“We would like to thank the Major Crime Investigation Team and the victim support homicide service for their support since Claire’s tragic death.”