A terrifying bully who killed his girlfriend and set fire to her home to cover his tracks has been found guilty of murder and jailed for life.
Stafford Crown Court heard today, Friday, October 14, how Gary Tyson, 36, of Shirland Street, Chesterfield, beat Gemma Stevens to death at her home on Catherine Street, Brampton, on March 2, before torching the property on March 3.
Tyson had denied murder on the grounds of diminished responsibility due to mental illness - admitting manslaughter and arson - but a jury returned a verdict of guilty to murder.
High Court Judge, Sir Kenneth Parker, told Tyson: “This was a most savage attack on the evidence we have seen.
“You spoke to witnesses about killing Gemma and when you returned to her home you set fire to the sofa where she was lying.”
Pathologist Dr Stuart Hamilton confirmed mother-of-three Gemma Stevens, 32, had been killed by an inflicted trauma to the head consistent with a blunt object and the prosecution argued this was from repeated stamping.
Dr Hamilton also revealed Gemma Stevens had suffered other injuries including a stab wound to her back with signs of possible attempted strangulation.
Psychiatrist Dr Andrew Bickle, had revealed Tyson has alcohol and mental health issues and the defendant claimed there had been a row with Gemma Stevens before he killed her concerning unfounded suspicions about her having sex with a drug-dealer.
Tyson told the psychiatrist he had subsequently suffered amnesia after the incident on the morning of March 2 and could not recall details and declined to give evidence during the trial.
The court heard how following Gemma Stevens’ death Tyson had visited his cousin Jamie Bray, 26, of Kingsclere Walk, Grangewood, Chesterfield, just before midnight on March 2 and Bray had been accused of being involved in the subsequent arson at Gemma Stevens’ home and assisting Tyson in destroying evidence in the early hours of March 3.
But Bray was found not guilty of arson and not guilty of assisting an offender and was freed after he told the court he had simply thought they had gone out walking and drinking and he had thought Tyson had visited Gemma Stevens’ home to see if she was in.
Prosecuting barrister Michael Auty QC said Gemma Stevens’ dead body was discovered after neighbours alerted the fire service to the blaze at her home about 2am, on March 3.
Defence barrister Michael Evans, mitigating for Tyson, outlined Tyson’s mental health issues and that there had been a lack of pre-meditated planning leading up to Gemma Stevens’ death.
However, Judge Sir Kenneth Parker described Tyson as “a violent, aggressive and manipulative individual” and a “bully”.
He sentenced Tyson to life imprisonment with a minimum term of 24 years before he can be considered for parole.