Geoff Hemming murder case: From successful radio presenter to cold-blooded killer

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Geoff Hemming, cold-blooded murderer, was once a successful and popular presenter on local radio.

Even as be began his life sentence for killing fiancee Denise Williamson this week, you could buy a signed photo of him on e-bay for £7.79.

The photo dates back to the 1980s and 1990s when Hemming (now 52) was a DJ with the former GEM-AM radio station, which was an offshoot of Radio Trent.

GEM (Great East Midlands) launched in 1988 and covered the Nottinghamshire, Leicestershire and Derbyshire areas.

Hemming was one of the first presenters to take to the air -- along with well-known ex-Radio Trent names such as John Peters and Craig Strong.

GEM-AM soon became Classic Gold GEM, but Hemming remained a key figure.

“He loved the job, and the kudos that flowed from it,” Michael Auty QC told Nottingham Crown Court this week. “It was well-paid work too.”

However, Hemming’s career began to nosedive when Classic Gold GEM merged with another station in August 2007 and he was made redundant.

He set up his own company, Geoff Hemming Ltd, but that was dissolved two years later.

Hemming continued to work in radio as a freelance, including with Pennine Radio, based in Bradford. But he lost his final job with the Sheffield-based Magic AM in May last year.

It was then that the extent of his financial problems began to surface. Hemming was in debt to the tune of £40,000 to £45,000.

“He set himself up as a driving instructor, but the pay was not as good and his heart was not in it,” said Mr Auty.

“The finances put his relationship with Denise under strain and they argued more frequently.

“Denise confided in friends that they were heavily in debt and contemplating moving out of Hucknall to live somewhere cheaper.”

Shaun Smith (defending) told the court: “He had an inability to handle money, and spent it as fast as he earned it.

“He faced bankruptcy, but didn’t even have the £700 required for bankruptcy proceedings. He couldn’t let his car go because he was trying to make his way as a driving instructor.”

The court heard that Hemming became increasingly depressed and told both his mother and a close friend, Colin Lowther, that he was considering suicide.

Denise also told friends he was “moody, absorbed with playing on his various gadgets and paid her little attention.” They were sleeping in separate bedrooms.

Mr Smith said the “only two permanent constants in Hemming’s life now were his mother and father, both 77 years old”.

They had been responsible, he said, for his “normal upbringing”, alongside “siblings, who have done well in life”.

“He under-achieved at school, but he worked hard and was successful in the fields in which he operated,” Mr Smith went on.

However, he lost the job he loved after 25 years, which “damaged his self-esteem, and it was against the background of that, his money worries and his suspicions about Denise having an affair that “the die was cast as to what was going to happen on 5th July”.

“The increasing amount of time he had on his hands did not help,” continued Mr Smith. “Nor did his sleeplessness and his drinking.

“He thought Denise was seeking solace elsewhere and was content to let him think that.”

With regard to the murder, Mr Smith said: “There was no plan, no question of him lying in wait, no degree of premeditation.

“But something happened at about 8.05 that night which put him over the edge.

“He has always described Denise as his soulmate. He has never said she provoked him. He does not want to blacken her name.

“He is not an inherently bad person. But he did a very bad thing.”