Teenager, 18, is locked up for life for murder after he stabbed his ex-girlfriend Ellie Gould, 17, to death and left her lying in a pool of blood on ......
Nov. 08, 2019
A teenager was today locked up for life for murder after he stabbed his 17-year-old ex-girlfriend Ellie Gould to death and left her lying in a pool of blood on her kitchen floor when she dumped him.
Thomas Griffiths, now 18, was ordered to serve a minimum of 12 years and six months by a judge, who delivered the sentence in front of a public gallery packed with Ellie's family and friends.
The pair were sixth-form pupils at Hardenhuish School in Chippenham and had been going out for several months when Ellie decided to call off the relationship.
The judge said: 'For a few months, you had been boyfriend and girlfriend. On about May 2, she had decided to end that relationship.
'What matters is that she had called a halt to the relationship as she was perfectly entitled to do. You say you were upset by that.
'In my view, you were a great deal more than upset.'
The judge said he did not accept Griffiths' account that he had been studying with Ellie at her kitchen table when they began to argue.
'You and you alone know exactly what happened that day but what is clear is that at some point, you put your hands around Ellie's neck and tried to throttle her.'
Griffiths drove to Ellie's home on an estate in Calne, Wiltshire, on May 3, and stabbed her to death.
He sped away from the scene in his car and was arrested by police several miles away.
The judge lifted reporting restrictions and allowed Griffiths to be named after he was found guilty of murder.
Friends of the pair, who attended Hardenhuish School in Chippenham, said Griffiths had not previously been in trouble with police.
The death of Ellie has left her parents Matthew and Carol 'shattered', said a family member.
'Their life has been wrecked and they are devastated. Ellie was so close to her brother and he is just beside himself with grief.
'Their lives have been turned upside down and it will be years before they can recover.'
Griffiths lived just a few miles away from a teenager in an exclusive new build development where houses cost north of £400,000, and was arrested seven miles away from Ellie's home later that day.
Police were quickly able to identify him, despite him denying having seen her on the day of her death.
He spoke only to confirm his name and reply 'guilty' when the murder charge was read to him.
Judge Peter Blair QC, the Recorder of Bristol, said it was 'appropriate, reasonable and proportionate' for him to lift reporting restrictions that prevented the media from identifying Griffiths, describing the murder as an 'extremely grave' crime.
Ellie's family previously paid tribute to their daughter as 'fun-loving and a joy to be around'.
They added: 'We would like Ellie to be remembered as a kind, caring young lady with a wonderful, fun personality.'
Detective Chief Inspector Jim Taylor said today in a statement outside court: 'While I am pleased that Ellie's family will not have to endure a lengthy trial process in court which would have caused them further distress, I know just how difficult this whole period has been for them.
'They should have been enjoying the school holidays with their daughter, but instead, they are coming to terms with the fact she has been cruelly taken away from them in unthinkable circumstances.
'From what they have told me, Ellie was an extremely popular, fun-loving, kind, gentle and caring girl.
'Her tragic death has shocked the community of Calne, as well as the many young people and teaching staff at Hardenhuish School, where Ellie was studying.
'Nothing will ever fill the void that Ellie's death will leave in the lives of all those who knew her, but I hope that this outcome, and the upcoming sentencing, provides them with some comfort and enables them to concentrate on remembering Ellie and the many happy memories they have of her.
'My thoughts, and those of all at Wiltshire Police, remain with them.'
Lisa Percy, headteacher of Hardenhuish School, where Ellie studied, added: 'The whole community at Hardenhuish was completely devastated by the death of Ellie back in May.
'Ellie was an extremely popular student in our lower sixth form, who was preparing for her A-Levels the following year.
'She was popular, friendly and very talented, and understandably her death has hugely impacted on our school.
'Her close knit group of friends have shown strength beyond their young years in the months that have followed Ellie's death, and have supported one another extraordinarily well.
'We continue to support our students with the help of partner agencies who have been invaluable to our school during such an unprecedented time. Our thoughts continue to remain with Ellie's family at this time.'
Ellie's father Matthew and mother, Carole, 48, owned a kitchen fitting business. She is also survived by her 19-year-old brother Ben.
In a statement released after the horrific murder in May, her family described her as an animal lover who enjoyed summer holidays to Devon and attending school.
They said: 'We would like Ellie to be remembered as a kind, caring young lady with a wonderful fun personality.
'From a young age, Ellie had a huge love for animals.
'Ellie loved the Sixth Form at school where she was studying for A levels.
'She had built up a close group of friends who would often meet up at weekends and do activities such as the Escape Rooms.
'She would often ask if the group could meet at our house - 'It's just a gathering mum, not a party,' she'd say.
'We talked about visits to university open days and apprenticeships within the police force - she wondered if she could get into the mounted police with her riding skills.
'Whilst she was excited about the next step in her life she also said, 'But I don't want the sixth form to end as I love it so much'.
'Ellie had a lovely relationship with her older brother growing up, they rarely argued as she was fun loving and a joy to be around.