Estate agent jailed for the 'brutal' killing of his wife


An estate agent has been jailed for life for the "brutal" murder of his wife after she ordered him to leave their home following claims of a lesbian affair.

David Clark was convicted of murdering spouse, Melanie Clark, after jurors last month rejected his claims she sexually humiliated him in the days and months before the New Year's Eve killing.

South Africa-born Clark, 49, had told his trial at Birmingham Crown Court he could remember nothing of stabbing his wife in the chest at their home in Stoke Prior, near Bromsgrove, Worcestershire.

Clark, who said his wife had "nearly always" belittled the size of his penis, claimed he had suffered a "loss of control", and was guilty of the lesser offence of manslaughter.

But a jury rejected his account and on Thursday he was jailed for life with a minimum term of 15 years.

Sentencing Clark, Mr Justice Morris told him: "Melanie Clark was a healthy woman in the prime of her life.

"She was subjected to a brutal attack, which came without warning."

Sitting in the dock of the court, Clark, wearing a checked shirt, only nodded to the judge, as he was sentenced.

Clark took part in a drinking game hours before lashing out at 44-year-old Mrs Clark with a chef's knife.

In a victim impact statement read to court, her 23-year-old son Sheldon Heppell, one of her four children, said the "horrific crime" had left him "an orphan", and he now suffered "anxiety and depression" as a result of losing his mother.

Mr Heppell, whose natural father had died some years previously, said: "We (he and Mrs Clark) were very close and had a loving relationship."

He added: "I can't see any sort of future, I can't see a way out, and sometimes I wish I wasn't even alive."

Clark was around twice the drink-drive limit when he attacked Mrs Clark, who he had known since childhood, in her bedroom.

After the killing, the former military medic dialled the emergency services and told the operator: "I am sorry, I have killed my wife."

Later in the call, made at 11.51pm on New Year's Eve, Clark added: "I can't believe I f****** did it. I am f****** devastated, I don't know why I did it."

Clark told his trial that his wife had taunted him about an alleged tryst with his friend's daughter three days earlier.

Stabbing in Bromsgrove
Stabbing in Bromsgrove

But the Crown said Clark, originally from Durban, became "vengeful" and "uncontrollably angry" late on December 31 after exchanging a series of text messages with his wife while posting her claim of a lesbian affair on social media.

However, Mr Justice Morris said, during sentencing, that there was "some provocation" on Mrs Clark's part and took account of that as he set Clark's minimum jail term.

The court heard that Clark was arrested by armed police in the first minutes of 2018 after urging officers arriving at the scene to shoot him.

During his evidence, Clark said he did not know whether his wife's claim of having had a lesbian encounter with a family friend was true or not, and alleged that she had walked into his room, shouting and sniggering at him.

Mrs Clark, who died from a single wound to her chest, had allegedly told her husband that she had a sexual encounter with Katie Bastians on December 28 last year.

Mr Justice Morris said: "Whatever happened between them (Ms Bastians and Ms Clark) upstairs at that time, after the event, Melanie Clark led David Clark to believe there had been a sexual encounter between her and Katie."

He added: "I find as fact that whilst the relationship was turbulent, and whilst at times Melanie's language was foul, he gave as good as he got.

"David Clark was able to stand up for himself.

"When he stabbed her, he did so in a blind rage.

"When he went into the bedroom with the knife, he stabbed her in the way that he did, he intended to kill his wife."

The court heard Steve Bastians' daughter was, and still is, in a serious same-sex relationship in Australia and planned to get married.