Triple killer who struck ex-girlfriend over head with hammer faces life sentence

A triple killer is facing life behind bars after he admitted beating a former girlfriend over the head with a hammer and throttling her with a dressing gown cord.

Violent and controlling Theodore Johnson, 64, attacked mother-of-four and grandmother Angela Best, 51, on December 15 2016 after they broke up and she started a new relationship.

Hours after killing her, he drove to Cheshunt railway station in Hertfordshire and threw himself in front of an express train. He suffered horrific injuries including a severed right arm and left hand, but survived.

When police went to his home in Islington, north London, they discovered Ms Best's body in the living room with a belt wrapped around her neck, and a blood-stained claw hammer nearby.

A post-mortem examination found she had been strangled and suffered multiple blows to the head.

The wheelchair-bound defendant had pleaded guilty to the manslaughter of Ms Best by diminished responsibility but denied murder.

He admitted the murder charge on the first day of his Old Bailey trial, as prosecutor Mark Heywood QC was preparing to open the case to the jury.

It can now be reported that the Jamaican, of Dartmouth Park Hill, had a history of violence towards women, having been twice convicted of manslaughter before.

In November 1981, the garage worker was convicted by a jury at Stafford Crown Court of killing his wife, Yvonne Johnson.

Following an argument, he hit the mother-of-two with a vase before pushing her over the balcony of their ninth-floor flat in Wolverhampton.

Then in March 1993, he was convicted at the Old Bailey of killing his partner, Yvonne Bennett, by diminished responsibility.

The couple, who had a daughter together, had moved from Wolverhampton to Finsbury Park in north London, where Johnson strangled Ms Bennett with a belt after she had an affair with another man.

On his release from a psychiatric unit, Johnson met Ms Best around 1995 after she moved to Tottenham in north London from Manchester with her children.

Ms Best's two sisters sat in court as Johnson changed his plea.

Judge Richard Marks QC remanded him into custody to be sentenced on Friday.

Detective Sergeant Danny Yeoman, of Scotland Yard, said: "This was a vicious attack and I hope the conviction gives Angela's family some measure of comfort and closure."