Update: Embittered ex-partner Scott Ellis battered Martlesham mother-of-three to death with claw hammer in her living room after relationship broke down, murder trial told

Jane Bartholomew

Jane Bartholomew - Credit: Archant

A Suffolk man who could not accept his relationship with his former partner was over lay in wait at her home with a “killing kit” and beat her to death with a claw hammer, it has been alleged.

The body of 39-year-old mother-of-three Jane Bartholomew was discovered at her home in Lark Rise, Martlesham, in June this year after her 15-year-old daughter found the house locked when she returned home from school and asked a neighbour for help, Ipswich Crown Court was told.

Police officers who forced their way into the semi-detached property with a crowbar found Miss Bartholomew’s heavily blood-stained body on the living room floor with her arms and legs bound with nylon rope, a plastic bag over her head and her feet covered by a bin liner.

A post-mortem examination found she had suffered 22 blows to her head and there was also evidence she had been strangled.

There was also damage to her fingernails consistent with her “clawing” at her attacker and there were broken bones and bruising on her arms and hands consistent with her raising her arms to defend herself during the attack, said Peter Gair, prosecuting.

Miss Bartholomew’s former partner and the father of her three children Scott Ellis was arrested by police later the same day after he was taken to hospital for treatment after he cut his wrists and took an overdose.

During interviews he admitted lying in wait for Miss Bartholomew at her home and attacking her with a hammer when she returned home from taking her two younger children to school.

Most Read

“He said he felt he couldn’t live without her and didn’t want her to meet anyone else,” said Mr Gair.

The court heard that in the days leading up to the alleged murder Ellis had put together a “killing kit” made up of a claw hammer he purchased from a local hardware store as well as nylon rope, scissors, a modelling knife, bin liners, freezer bags, duct tape and a spade.

Ellis, 42, of Tunstall Green, Tunstall, has denied murdering Miss Bartholomew on June 13.

Mr Gair told the court that Miss Bartholomew and Ellis had been in a relationship since she was 14 but they had lived separately since selling a flat they shared in Melton 10 years ago.

Despite living apart the couple had continued their relationship with Ellis often staying at Miss Bartholomew’s home and their children staying with him as well.

However, earlier this year unemployed Ellis discovered Miss Bartholomew had joined an internet dating site and this had resulted in a row during which she made it clear that if he didn’t get a job and become a proper father to their children she would leave him.

Things had come to a head on May 22 when Ellis had allegedly assaulted Miss Bartholomew in a car park outside her workplace in Rendlesham, leaving with red marks on her neck.

A week later Miss Bartholomew told one of Ellis’s friends that her relationship with him was over and in the days that followed he allegedly spoke to several of his friends about killing her but no-one had taken his threats seriously.

Mr Gair alleged that Ellis told one friend that if he couldn’t have Miss Bartholomew he couldn’t stand the thought of her being with anyone else and told another he would be better off if she “wasn’t around”.

He also allegedly said that if she got another man he would kill her and also spoke of taking a claw hammer to her and then cutting her up, putting her in bags and dumping her in the sea, said Mr Gair.

“This killing was premeditated and planned and we say in all probability motivated by anger and rejection. We say the killing was brutally executed,” alleged Mr Gair.

He claimed that after letting himself in through the back door with a spare key Ellis hid in the living room.

When Miss Bartholomew returned from the school run he allegedly attacked her from behind striking her repeatedly over the head with the hammer after putting his hand over her mouth to stop her screaming.

After allegedly tying her legs and arms with nylon rope and putting plastic bags over her head and feet he had tried to clean up some of the blood before leaving the house and locking the door behind him.

After his arrest Ellis told police he had wanted to hurt Miss Bartholomew because she had hurt him and said he had intended to lie down next to her and slit his wrists.

Mr Gair said that during the trial the jury would hear evidence from medical experts about Ellis’s mental state at the time of the alleged killing and they would have to decide if he was guilty of murder or manslaughter by reason of diminished responsibility.

The trial, which is expected to finish next week, continues tomorrow.