Murder charges after man and woman stabbed on New Year’s Day

A man has been charged with murdering two people found stabbed to death at a house in the early hours of New Year’s Day.

Rhys Hancock, 39, has been charged with killing Helen Hancock and Martin Griffiths, who were found fatally injured at an address in the village of Duffield, Derbyshire Police said.

Hancock, of Portland Street, Etwall, Derbyshire, will appear before magistrates in Derby on Friday.

Mrs Hancock, also 39 and from Duffield, and father-of-two Martin Griffiths, 48, from Derby, were discovered at a detached property after officers were called at 4.11am.

Mr Griffiths and Mrs Hancock, whose maiden name was Almey, were pronounced dead at the scene.

Paying tribute in a statement issued by police, the family of Mrs Hancock said: “The family are devastated at the loss of Helen, who was a lovely, beautiful, friendly, bubbly and social person.”

Mr Griffiths’s family, also paying tribute, said: “Martin was a lovely dad, husband, son, brother and uncle, who had a passion for adventure, running and a love of animals.

“He enjoyed travelling the world, mountain climbing and spending time with his two children. He will be greatly missed.”

Both families have asked for privacy and are being supported by specialist officers.

Police remained at the address on Thursday, carrying out searches and door-to-door inquiries.

Duffield double murder
Duffield double murder

Police at the scene on Wednesday (Jacob King/PA)

Chief Superintendent Hayley Barnett, of Derbyshire Police, said: “The thoughts of everyone at Derbyshire Constabulary are with the family and friends of Mrs Hancock and Mr Griffiths.

“Our thoughts are also with the Duffield community, which is understandably shocked by this incident.

“You will see officers in the area throughout today as the investigation continues and I would urge you to speak to them about any concerns you may have.”

Detectives previously said they were not looking for anyone else in connection with the killings and nobody else was at the house at the time.

The force has referred itself to the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) due to contact between Mrs Hancock and its officers before the incident.

An IOPC spokeswoman said: “We are investigating the circumstances of police contact with Helen Hancock prior to her death in Duffield on January 1.

“Our investigation follows a mandatory referral from Derbyshire Police.

“Due to the separate ongoing murder investigation, it would be inappropriate to comment further at this time.”