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‘Monster’ cut wife’s body into more than 200 pieces, court told

In Europe
April 05, 2024

An “evil monster” cut his wife’s body into more than 200 pieces and then paid a friend £50 to help him dump her remains in a river.

Nicholas Metson, 28, stabbed Holly Bramley, 26, at least four times in March 2023 before dismembering her and storing her body parts for a week in the kitchen larder at the flat they shared in Shuttleworth House, Stamp End, Lincoln.

Lincoln Crown Court heard Metson tried to cover up what he had done by purchasing large amounts of cleaning products and enlisting his school friend Joshua Hancock, 28, to help move the body parts to the River Witham in Bassingham by offering him £50 to help with a “job”.

Prosecutor Gordon Aspden KC told the court on Friday that the “twisted and barbaric” way Metson cut his wife into at least 224 separate pieces went “far beyond what was needed to move the body”.

Ms Bramley’s remains were discovered by a member of the public, who initially thought they belonged to an animal until he noticed a human hand, in the river on the evening of March 25 – more than a week after she was last seen going into her flat on March 17.

The court heard some of Ms Bramley’s remains, including parts of her heart, have never been recovered.

Before her remains were found and while Ms Bramley was missing, Lincolnshire Police attended the flat they shared, with Metson telling them his wife had left their home on March 19 with two members of a local mental health crisis team.

Officers noticed a “strong smell of bleach and ammonia” in the flat, saw a saw on a towel, bloodstained sheets in their bathroom and a large bloodstain on their bedroom floor.

After discovering what Metson had told them about his wife’s disappearance was a lie, he was arrested and charged with her murder and perverting the course of justice.

A search of his mobile phone revealed Metson had made Google searches including “How to get rid of a dead body”, “What benefits can I get if my wife dies” and “Does God forgive murder”.

He had also had sent a message to Hancock, of Walnut Close in Waddington, in the early hours of March 25 offering him money in return for help with a “job”.

Hancock was arrested on April 5 and charged with obstructing a coroner.

In the days following the murder of his wife, Metson used her Facebook account to message her friends and trick them into thinking she was still alive.

He tried to convince them that she had left him and moved to Manchester while sending himself money from her bank account.

Extensive CCTV searches revealed Metson moving a large amount of bags from his flat on the 14th floor into a lift before putting them into his yellow Peugeot in the early hours of March 25.

Metson, who initially denied killing his wife but changed his plea to guilty on February 23, and Hancock, who pleaded guilty to disposal of a corpse with intent to obstruct or prevent a coroner’s inquest at the same hearing, faced members of Ms Bramley’s distraught family in court on Friday.

Branding him an “evil monster” who had convinced his wife that her family were abusive, Ms Bramley’s mother Annette said her family had suffered “unimaginable pain”.

Describing her daughter as “beautiful, kind and loving”, she said: “Her last moments being filled with pain will haunt us forever.

“Her life was taken by someone who quite clearly has no regard for human life.

“We were prevented from seeing Holly in the years leading up to her murder. We were prevented from seeing her before her death and due to his monstrous actions, he made sure we were prevented from seeing her after her death.

“Holly will always be in our hearts, we will never forget her and the impact she had on our lives.”

Addressing Metson in the dock, Ms Bramley said: “Your actions have forced upon me a life sentence of grief, I am sure it will be a whole life sentence.

“I pray to God you receive the same.”

Ms Bramley’s sister Sarah-Jayne Lindop, said: “You stole Holly’s life in March 2023, but you stole her from our life many years before that.

“You took her from a caring and loving family and on the occasions when she did make her way back home or when you told her she wasn’t good enough or pretty enough, you lured her back using the one thing she wanted most in the world – to be a mother.

“We are shattered people who have lived the last 12 months as shells of the people we were before this.

“We have lost all hope of ever getting our Holly home, you carelessly took her life and threw her away like she was nothing, when to us she was everything.

“Our hurt is so raw and it likely always will be. To lose her in such a cruel and brutal way has affected us so deeply many of us have needed specialist help just to get by.

“I truly regret the day you ever laid eyes on our sister.”

Allison Summers KC, defending Metson, said in mitigation that he had autism spectrum disorder which would impede his self-control and that prison will come with “certain added difficulties for him”.

She said: “This is someone who has autism at a moderate level. It is a significant, combined with his learning difficulties, neurological disorder.

“This is a young man with these particular problems and what is clear is that this is somebody who is, despite certain appearances, isolated socially and operates in bubbles for the most part.

“He doesn’t make friends and is incapable of seeing the world from the perspective of anyone but himself.

“For all the horror of what this man did, he is nevertheless himself a vulnerable man and that is why Holly was his designated carer.

“One can be both vulnerable and the perpetrator of something quite awful. Prison being as difficult as it is for many people, will come with significant difficulties to him.

“It will not have escaped the family that he does not seem to have demonstrated any remorse.

“With his autism and other disorders, he has a highly restricted capacity for remorse, he has profound difficulties to empathise with others and read the feelings of others.”

Raglan Ashton, defending Hancock, said: “Mr Hancock bitterly regrets his involvement and the part he played in the incident.

“His involvement was limited – it begins with a number of messages sent to him by Metson, asking him to do a job for him.

“In my submission, he is persistent in terms of that request and the message is followed by a number of further messages. He repeats that request.

“Mr Hancock did not know what that job entailed. He was coming into an activity that wasn’t of his making.

“There are also mental health issues in the respect of Mr Hancock. He has autism, ADHD and has been classified as lower than average in cognitive functioning.

“He acknowledges the pain and anguish felt by the family and he is quite appalled.”

Judge Simon Hirst said: “It will be a source of enormous frustration to the family of Holly that they will never be told how and why Holly died.”

He adjourned sentencing for both men until Monday.

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