British man jailed for murdering girlfriend on holiday in Gran Canaria

British man jailed for murdering girlfriend on holiday in Gran Canaria

A British man has been jailed for 24 years for murdering his girlfriend in a jealous rage on holiday in Gran Canaria.

Christopher Chittock, 38, beat and strangled Sarah Shields, 23, to death on a beach in July 2010 before flying home alone.

He was convicted of her murder on Friday after a three-day trial at the Provincial Court in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, where he was sentenced to 24 years in prison and ordered to pay her parents €200,000.

Mr Chittock had denied murder, claiming Miss Shields left him for another British holidaymaker before she died.

The jury of nine people heard the attack began after Chittock discovered text messages between Miss Shields and her ex-boyfriend William Newham.

They found this had not been proved but magistrate Secundino Aleman said he was satisfied Chittock "acted out of spite", and highlighted that Mr Newham confirmed he had contacted Miss Shields while she was on holiday.

According to the BBC, Mr Aleman added: "The accused himself admits he got angry with Sarah, although this was supposedly because she was going to leave him to stay and live in Gran Canaria with another person who she had met on the complex a couple of days before."

On the night of the attack, Mr Chittock repeatedly punched Sarah in the bedroom of their holiday apartment in the resort of Mogan, before dragging her to a deserted beach, where he banged her head against a rock and strangled her.

He then burned her clothes, and dumped her body in the sea, where it was found the following day.

Sky News reports that in a desperate bid to cover up the crime, Chittock kept Sarah's phone and sent texts to her family pretending to be her.

But a European arrest warrant was issued and he was detained in September 2010 before being extradited to Spain.

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