Husband jailed for brutal murders of wife and pensioner days before Christmas

A man who murdered his wife and a pensioner during a “psychotic episode” has been jailed for life.

Daniel Appleton, 38, was handed a minimum term of 26 and a half years for bludgeoning the two women to death days before Christmas 2019.

The loss of beloved schoolteacher Amy Appleton, 32, and brave passer-by Sandra Seagrave, 76, who rushed to her aid, shocked the small village of Crawley Down, West Sussex.

Appleton appeared at Lewes Crown Court on Monday after being found guilty following a trial in December.

Amy Appleton’s mother Linda Remon faced her daughter’s killer in court as she described the “uncontrollable distress and despair” her family have experienced.

She said: “One moment we were looking forward to a special Christmas and new year and the next our world came crashing down around us.

“Our lives were turned catastrophically upside down in the most dreadful way possible.

“Not only has this devastated family and friends but the lives of 30 children she was teaching at the time.”

Sentencing Appleton, Mr Justice Nicholas Hilliard QC told him that this was “not a case of insanity”.

He added: “I sentence you on the basis that you took a new psychoactive substance and under the influence of this committed these murders.

“Anyone who takes new psychoactive substances, which are Class A drugs, is interfering with their own mental processes and responsible for the consequences.”

The 365 days Appleton has spent on remand will be deducted from the minimum jail term, the judge said.