Geoff Hemming murder case: The day Denise Williamson was brutally killed

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Friday 5th July 2013 began with Denise Williamson leaving her home on Hazelwood Drive in the far west of Hucknall and going to work as usual.

But when she failed to respond to an e-mail from her partner, Geoff Hemming, during the morning, he became convinced she hadn’t gone and was with another man instead.

Nottingham Crown Court heard how he made three exasperated phone-calls to his mother at 10.10 am, 12.24 pm and 4.18 pm.

“She tried to calm him down,” said Michael Auty QC (prosecuting). “She said his behaviour was more likely to drive Denise away.”

Also during the afternoon, Hemming made “five frantic attempts to phone Denise.”

“When she finally rang him, he sounded upbeat and happy,” said Mr Auty.

After Denise had returned home, the couple began preparing an evening meal, “He was sat in the garden reading a newspaper, and neighbours could hear them chatting and laughing,” Mr Auty went on.

Denise’s son, Ryan, phoned her to say he was on his way home for his tea. All seemed to be well.

“But at 8.01 pm, Denise sent a text message to a close friend, Joanne Sims,” said Mr Auty. “Hemming assumed it had been sent to a man -- and that is the last we know for definite.”

Hemming’s version of events was relayed in an interview with the police, the court heard.

He said Denise passed her phone to him to prove it wasn’t a man. But when he dropped it, she thought he was trying to throw it at her.

“He said Denise went to slap him, so he responded by punching her in the face,” said Mr Auty.

“Hemming claimed Denise then pulled a knife on him, cutting his left wrist, and she fell on the knife. He said he had no idea how she came to be stabbed.”

In fact, Denise had received “ten stab wounds of considerable severity”, said Mr Auty.

Six were to the abdomen, two were to the back and one pierced her left breast. She also had a black eye, grip-marks on her arms and cuts to her head, plus other superficial injuries.

Meanwhile, Ryan arrived home to find the front-door locked. He couldn’t get round the back either, and when he tried ringing both his mum and Hemming, he got no reply.

Next-door neighbour John Sparham came out and noticed that a first-floor bedroom-window was open, the court heard. So he fetched a ladder, enabling Ryan to climb up and into the house.

When finding his mum and Hemming in the kitchen, he ran outside saying they had been stabbed.

Mr Sparham rushed into the house with a first-aid kit, and, at 8.50 pm, his wife, Sarah, rang 999, the court heard.

“Mr Sparham and his father tried to revive Denise, but there was no response,” said Mr Auty.

“Paramedics arrived quickly, and one of them, John Mills came to the conclusion that Hemming was faking his condition. He had a cut on his wrist, but he was controlled, conscious and able to get to his feet.”

At 1.10 the following morning, Hemming was arrested for murder.

Back at Hazelwood Drive, police were examining bloody footprints on the floor. Ryan’s tea was still in the oven.