A DORSET man has been handed a life sentence with a minimum term of 16 years and nine months behind bars for the murder of a woman who he had been in a relationship with.

Lewis Crofts repeatedly stabbed Kimberley Deakin to the face, neck and chest at her home in Stoke-on-Trent.

Crofts, 30 and of Lytchett Drive, Broadstone, had become “paranoid” about Ms Deakin seeing the father of her child Matthew Bloor.

After she flew back from Jersey with Mr Bloor and arrived at her home on November 6 last year, the defendant attacked the 29-year-old inside the address in Leigh Street, Burslem.

She was seen by neighbours in the street covered in blood before being taken to hospital, where she died a short time later.

Crofts fled the scene in Ms Deakin's Vauxhall Corsa before he was arrested by police in Northampton with blood stains on his hands, clothes and inside the vehicle.

Judge Kristina Montgomery QC told Crofts his offence was one of the “gravest character” and he took the life of a "much-loved mother".

The judge told the defendant he will serve at least 16 years and nine months in prison before he can be considered for release by the Parole Board.

Two members of Ms Deakin's family read from their victim personal statements at the Stafford Crown Court hearing on May 4.

Her sister Brittany said: "Not only have I lost my sister, I have lost my best friend"

She added: "Losing Kim has ripped a huge chunk out of my heart."

She said her sister was taken away by an "evil monster".

"I have never had so much hate and anger towards one person but you Lewis Crofts make my blood boil," said Brittany Deakin.

Ms Deakin's uncle Craig said: "It is a tragic night and we will never learn the full truth."

He told the court that the family's lives have "changed forever" and he will never forgive Crofts for what he did.

The court heard Ms Deakin was forced to scream to neighbours for help after being knifed in a “brutal” attack by her the defendant.

Crofts stabbed Ms Deakin to the face, neck and torso with a kitchen knife in the “near presence” of her baby daughter, who was either in the same room or an adjacent room.

The defendant had previously spoken of his intent to kill his victim and her lover to a friend after suspecting the pair of having an affair.

Judge Montgomery QC said: “This was a very grave offence. You took the life of a much-loved mother in her prime years.

“You did so in a brutal manner and left her seeking help of neighbours while you made good your escape.”

The judge continued: “You worked yourself up into an alcohol-fuelled fury.

“Your thoughts began to move towards a murderous solution to your torment.

“This happened while her baby was in the same room, or, if not, an adjacent room.”

The court was told that when he was being arrested at a service station on the A14 the defendant told officers: "I have done what I have done. It is as simple as that."

Police body-cam footage of Crofts looking “nonplussed” at the time of his arrest was shown in court, before police station CCTV captured the defendant later breaking down after hearing of Ms Deakin’s death.

At the station, Crofts could be heard saying: “I never meant that, is she dead?

“I didn’t mean for that to happen.”

The defendant pleaded guilty to murder at a pre-trial review hearing last month.