Family of Bentilee woman killed by lesbian lover's swan statue attack speak of grief
THE family of a former Stoke-on-Trent woman murdered by her lesbian lover have spoken of their anguish over her death.
Wendy Thorpe – who left Bentilee to move to the West Midlands in 2010 – was killed after being hit on the head with an ornamental concrete swan in July.
The 42-year-old was attacked by Tracey Ashfield following a row over cash at their Walsall home.
Now Ashfield must serve at least 13 years in prison after admitting Wendy's murder at Wolverhampton Crown Court.
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Wendy's funeral service was finally held at Carmountside Crematorium in October after delays in carrying out medical tests on her body.
Brother Roy was unavailable for comment at his Chelmsford Drive home, in Bentilee, yesterday.
But Wendy's niece Rachael Bratt said: "We all miss Wendy terribly every day but can hopefully now begin to deal with what happened."
The court heard 43-year-old Ashfield killed Wendy after striking her with the seven-kilogram decorative bird.
The killer then stayed with her lover's body for the rest of the night before dragging it to the bottom of their garden and covering it with an old sofa cover in an attempt to hide it. Ashfield then wrote a confession before handing herself in to police.
Judge John Warner told Ashfield: "Miss Thorpe was horribly beaten to death by you."
Following the case, West Midlands Police officers said they hoped the guilty plea and sentence would bring closure for Wendy's family.
Detective Constable Jeff Neal said: "This was a tragic case where an argument went too far. We received a call from Ashfield the day after the incident after she became wracked with guilt about what had happened. We hope this result will bring some comfort and closure to Wendy's family."