Sophie Cavanagh murder: ‘Jealous’ man jailed for strangling wife

SophieImage copyright Met Police
Image caption Martin Cavanagh stripped his wife Sophie and put her into bed after he killed her to make it look like she died in her sleep, jurors were told

A “jealous and controlling” man who murdered his estranged wife after she refused to sleep with him “one last time” for £100 has been jailed for life with a minimum term of 16 years.

Martin Cavanagh, 35, strangled 31-year-old Sophie Cavanagh at his flat in Bromley, south-east London, on 20 May.

He left a message on a board saying she “deserved it”, the Old Bailey heard.

Sentencing, a judge said Cavanagh had inflicted a “lifetime of suffering” on his victim’s family.

Judge Michael Grieve QC said: “In the week leading up to her death you begged her to sleep with you one last time for £100.”

“You acted out of pent-up jealousy and resolved that if you could not have Sophie, no-one else was going to,” he added.

“You have inflicted a lifetime of suffering on Sophie’s family… you caused a wholly unnecessary and tragic death.”

In a statement after Cavanagh was found guilty, the victim’s family said their loss was “a nightmare no family should have to go through”.

Image copyright Met Police
Image caption Martin Cavanagh said he acted in self defence when he strangled his ex-wife in May

Prosecutor Alexandra Healy QC said the couple married in 2011 but split up before the killing.

She told the court Cavanagh had a “controlling, jealous and possessive nature” and was “unable to accept the end of their relationship”.

Cavanagh accessed his wife’s account to sabotage her profile after he discovered she was using the dating website.

Jurors were shown a series of WhatsApp messages he sent to Mrs Cavanagh, with one offering money if she would sleep with him “one last time”.

The young mother’s body was found in the defendant’s flat the day after she agreed to go on a trip to Wingham Wildlife Park in Kent with him.

Image copyright Met Police
Image caption Cavanagh left a message on the whiteboard in his flat, the court heard

Cavanagh had stripped his wife and put her into bed to make it look like she died in her sleep, jurors were told.

He turned himself in to police on 24 May.

In his defence, Cavanagh claimed he acted only to protect himself from his wife, who he said “attacked” him after they took cocaine.

He said he grabbed her by the neck “for 10, 15 or maybe 20 seconds” to stop her from continuing to hit him.

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