Killer's mum: I'm so sorry

ROBERT McCarry's mother today offered a heartfelt apology to the devastated parents of murdered Nicola West - but pledged to stand by her son.

Josh Warwick

ROBERT McCarry's mother today offered a heartfelt apology to the devastated parents of murdered Nicola West - but pledged to stand by her son.

As twisted McCarry and accomplice Paul Waters begin life terms for the brutal body-in-the-boot killing, Rita Spaldings spoke of her sorrow for the duo's victim.

Fighting back tears, Mrs Spaldings said: “I feel so very sorry for Nicola West and her parents and I apologise on behalf of Robert.

“Nicola's mother will never have a grandchild from her because of Robert. I know what it's like to have grandchildren, it's the most wonderful feeling in the world but she won't experience that now.

“We can't bring Nicola back and I know it will be difficult but I just hope life can continue in the best way possible for her family. Hopefully they can learn to deal with their loss.”

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McCarry, 37, of Vernon Street, Ipswich, and Waters, 29, of Sandpiper Road, Ipswich, were sentenced by a judge at Ipswich Crown Court yesterday after they were convicted in January of the murder of Miss West, a distribution manager at St Elizabeth Hospice. McCarry was given a 19-year minimum term. Waters was told he must serve at least 13 years.

On sentencing the pair, judge John Devaux said: “Between you, you murdered Nicola West, a charity worker who had the misfortune to encounter you, McCarry, in a public house some hours before she met her death.

“You have left a definite void in the lives of her family and fiancé. You have shown no remorse.”

Relatives of Miss West sobbed as a statement was read out from them by the judge. It read: “It seems impossible to comprehend how something so violent and hideous could happen to someone so vulnerable. There are not enough words effective enough to describe the suffering, pain and agony.”

Despite McCarry's sickening crimes, Mrs Spaldings, of east Ipswich, said she will maintain a relationship with her son and plans to visit him at Norwich prison next week.

She said: “I will still visit him and I will still write to him. He has told me what happened. He has been totally honest with me. Right now, he needs his mother and he needs his family around him.”

McCarry and Waters were convicted of murdering 34-year-old Miss West, of Leatherbottle Hill, Little Blakenham, near the dry ski slope at Wherstead on February 8 last year.

McCarry was also convicted of raping Miss West while Waters was found guilty of attempted rape. Both were found guilty of perverting the course of justice after they put Miss West's body in the boot of Waters' Ford Escort car and drove around the country for two days before telling police.

The duo had denied all the charges against them, claiming Miss West had agreed to have sex with them and had asked to be strangled during intercourse to heighten her pleasure.

Would you like to pay tribute to Nicola West? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk