Brutal murder of Martlesham woman by ex-boyfriend ‘could not be prevented’
PUBLISHED: 16:25 08 July 2020 | UPDATED: 18:51 08 July 2020
The brutal murder of a Martlesham woman by her ex-boyfriend wielding a hammer could not have been prevented, a report has found.
Jane Bartholomew, 39, was “brutally executed” by ex-boyfriend Scott Ellis at her house in Martlesham Heath in 2014 – having been hit with his hammer 20 times.
The pair had met in coastal Suffolk as teenagers, before later having three children together. A long series of separations continued until the couple split for the final time in January 2014, five months before her death.
A review, undertaken by the domestic homicide team at Suffolk Coastal Community Safety Partnership, has since found her death “could not have been prevented” by anyone other than Ellis.
The couple had a history of domestic abuse, with Ellis assaulting Ms Bartholomew one month before her murder, having grabbed her by the throat and pushed her into bushes.
Colleagues heard her screams but she refused to let them report the assault to police. This was the first time she had told a friend about abuse at the hands of Ellis.
Other than one of the children’s schools having raised concerns about a lack of attention and disruptive behaviour of one child, the report found no indication of schools knowing of any family problems at home. No indications of domestic abuse are understood to have been raised with healthcare professionals.
Ellis had told friends he was going to kill Ms Bartholomew in the weeks leading to her murder, although none had taken his claims seriously, the report added.
Despite having been treated for depression for a number of years, his mental health was said to have improved in the run-up to her death, and providers had “no concerns that he posed a risk to himself or others”.
On the day of her death, Ellis was discovered by his mother and child with self-harm injuries and was taken to hospital, while Ms Bartholomew’s body was found at her home soon after. Ellis made comments admitting his actions while being taken to the police station.
He was sentenced to a minimum of 22 years in prison later that year.
The report found, with the benefit of hindsight, “it is possible to see the escalation in risk” – although it said that with the couple not having contact with criminal justice or domestic abuse agencies meant her death “could not have been prevented”.
The report added: “The Suffolk Coastal Domestic Homicide Review Panel members and the chair would like to express their sincere condolences to the family members of those involved in the tragic events which has brought about the need to hold this review.
“In addition to the immense pain and distress caused to the victim’s family our thoughts are also with the family and former friends of the perpetrator of this terrible crime. His actions have also caused them considerable emotional distress.”
The review made a number of recommendations as a result of the incident, including an anonymous reporting mechanism for third parties, as well as increased domestic abuse training for police, schools, GPs and council workers.
Those experiencing domestic abuse can receive 24-hour support via the National Domestic Abuse Helpline on 0808 2000 247.
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