A “thug” who murdered a woman on their wedding night and stuffed her body in a suitcase has been jailed for life with a minimum term of 21 years.
Thomas Nutt, 46, then beat and strangled his wife, Dawn Walker, 52. He hid her body in a cupboard at their home before later dumping her in a field.
Bradford crown court heard Nutt broke her leg so he could fit her body into the suitcase, which he threw over a fence and hid in bushes. Her remains were found four days later.
Nutt lied to her family and blamed her disappearance on her mental health. He sent them fake texts, allegedly from her, and convinced her youngest daughter to help try to find her knowing she was dead.
He had controlled Walker for years and isolated her from family members for three years “before his wicked hands took her away from us forever”, Walker’s sister told the court.
Judge Rose told him: “Dawn Walker died because you are a bully, used to getting your way with women, used to controlling and manipulating women and used to using your considerable size advantage to inflict violence on women if you saw fit as necessary to do so.”
Nutt killed the mother three hours after their wedding as they returned to their home in Shirley Grove, Lightcliffe, near Halifax, West Yorkshire on the night of 27 October.
He told police they had gone on honeymoon to Skegness the following day, but the judge said there was no evidence to support that claim and the judge was sure Walker was already dead.
The killer “desecrated” her body by breaking bones to make her fit in the suitcase, Rose said.
The victim’s daughter, Kiera-Lee Guest, told the court Nutt put up Halloween decorations in the house even as Ms Walker lay dead.
Guest said Nutt knew what he had done when she went from place to place with a picture of her mother asking if people had seen her.
She said, “Justice will be done for my beautiful mother.”
Walker’s sister, Lisa, told the court: “I grieve for my sister who suffered so much and felt she had no one to turn to because this man made her feel worthless.”
Alistair MacDonald QC, prosecuting, said the crime was aggravated by the way Nutt deceived her family after the murder, causing them “psychological damage”, he said.
Stephen Wood QC, defending, said there was no evidence Nutt intended to kill his wife and it had been “spontaneous”.
Nutt had admitted murder, but was convicted of murder.
After the judge imposed a life sentence with a minimum term of 21 years, a woman in the public gallery shouted: “Thank you, your honor, thank you.”