A Northamptonshire Police Officer has been sentenced to a minimum of 15 years in jail after he was found guilty of murdering his wife.
A jury unanimously convicted Adrian ‘Otis’ Goldsmith, aged 50, of the murder of his wife Jill, aged 49, after a three-week trial at Stafford Crown Court.
During a sentencing hearing today (Monday), the court heard Goldsmith had repeatedly hit his wife on the head with a variety of weapons including a wooden mallet, a paint pot and a torch battery in the porch of their home in Wootton Hall, Northampton, on March 26 last year.
Prosecutor John Lloyd-Jones QC said the attack was not “pre-planned” but was aggravated by the fact Goldsmith attempted to hide his guilt by claiming he had attacked his wife in self-defence.
Mr Lloyd-Jones said: “This defendant went to some lengths afterwards to hide his complicity. He hid the mallet in an upstairs cupboard and stabbed himself to make it look like he had been attacked - a particular lie he kept up until it was disproved by evidence from the pathologist.”
Mr Lloyd-Jones said, as a police officer, higher standards of physical discipline and restraint would have been expected of Goldsmith.
A statement by Jill Goldsmith’s son, Charlie Bailey, was read to the court in which he said she was a “much loved person” who was always there for her family.
The statement read: “What happened to my mum Jill still leaves me in complete disbelief. My life was turned upside down. My mum meant everything to me.
“There is a massive part of me missing. The whole family, including my grandmother, have been left disheartened by what Goldsmith did.
“I can only think, why us? What made him do this? There was no need to do this, he should have known above anyone how to calm things down.
“Goldsmith has taken so many things away, my mum will never see me marry, have my first home or grandchildren. That is all the fault of the actions he took on that day.”
Rosina Cottage QC, mitigating, said her client was still not able to come to terms with enormity of what happened on March 26 last year.
Ms Cottage said her client’s focus on the trial had “blocked his ability to express remorse for the harm he has caused.”
She said: “He acknowledges that he has caused enormous sorrow and distress. He appreciates there are no words that can express apology for what he has done.
“It appears that anger, unhappiness, frustration, resentment all of these things building up for some time overwhelmed him on that day and he acted in high emotion without truly understanding consequences of his actions.”
Judge Paul Glenn said it was a “significant aggravating” factor that Goldsmith had attempted to lie about the injuries he had suffered in order to establish a defence.
Judge Glenn said it was “abundantly clear” there were difficulties in the relationship between the couple but said he believed Goldsmith still loved his wife on the day of the murder
He said Goldsmith had some very particular personality traits such as being “pedantic” and would “over analyse” matters.
Judge Glenn said: “You may not have been easy on occasions to live with. You were plainly concerned about the welfare of your wife on occasions but on other times, you were utterly tactless and quite scathing, including during this trial where you have made a quite wide ranging attack on her character.”
The judge said he rejected the suggestion that Jill Goldsmith became violent and aggressive after smoking cannabis and that she self-harmed before Goldsmith killed her.
He said: “The stories you told of previous violence are either untrue or greatly exaggerated. Her mood could be unpredictable and cause concern to you, but equally you could be unpleasant and turn nasty.
“You both had tempers. Your loss of temper resulted in her death. You beat her to death in what was a sustained attack. I find it inconceivable a knife would have featured as prominently as you claimed and that you would have escaped injury.”
Judge Glenn said Jill Goldsmith must have been in “terror” as she fought for her life.
He said: “The nature of this attack was such that your victim would inevitably have suffered physically before she died.
“There were multiple blows, predominantly to the head. She must have been in terror as she fought for her life, as I am satisfied she did.”
“You used a number of different implements, a mallet, a paint tin and a battery that were all utterly unnecessary. You took her forcibly by the neck, you hid evidence and, more significantly, you lied repeatedly to police and doctors, even the prison chaplain about injuries you suffered by the knife.”
Judge Glenn said he could not be sure Goldsmith intended to kill his wife but said he believed he intended to cause her serious harm
He said: “The murder was not premeditated, but was spontaneous.
“Jill may have been in possession of a knife, probably because of the rage you were in, but she would have been swiftly disarmed as you are much bigger and trained in self-defence and have some martial arts experience.”
Goldsmith was given a life prison sentence, with a minimum term of 15 years. The 10 months he has spent in custody will count towards his sentence.