Britain’s Got Talent performer ‘stabbed more than 70 times by boyfriend’
A nurse who performed on Britain’s Got Talent was stabbed more than 70 times by her boyfriend in an “utterly terrifying” attack, a court has heard.
Simonne Kerr, 31, was last seen leaving the hospital where she worked on August 15 last year, heading to former solider Desmond Sylva’s flat in Clapham, south London.
At lunchtime that day, Sylva, 41, telephoned his brother to say he had just murdered his girlfriend before alerting emergency services, the Old Bailey heard.
Police found Ms Kerr’s lifeless body lying beside a bed wrapped in a blood soaked duvet.
Prosecutor Oliver Glasgow QC said: “Her throat had been slashed and she had been repeatedly stabbed to the right side of her face and her neck.
“Desmond Sylva had used a kitchen knife to inflict more than 70 wounds to her body and despite her efforts to fight him off, she was clearly powerless to do so.”
Afterwards, the defendant told police he had mental health problems and that he defended himself during an argument with Ms Kerr, jurors heard.
Sylva explained he had stabbed her with a knife that was nearby, the court was told.
Mr Glasgow told jurors they would have to decide if Sylva was telling the truth and whether to believe he had partial amnesia.
He went on: “But what is obvious is that Simonne Kerr did not stand a chance.
“The last few minutes of her life must have been utterly terrifying: repeatedly stabbed by the man who was supposed to care for her but who in the end simply butchered her and then tried to blame her for what he had done.
“The question that you will have to determine is why he did what he did.”
Having initially claimed to have been defending himself, Sylva later admitted that he killed the Guy’s and St Thomas’s nurse while suffering an “abnormality of mental function”, the court heard.
But Mr Glasgow said the Crown’s case was that he simply “lost his temper”.
He told jurors: “He chose to pick up a knife and he chose to use it again and again to stab Simonne Kerr at a time when he was not acting in lawful self defence and did not need to defend himself from her.
“His depression neither explains nor justifies his actions and what happened was that his anger got the better of him and he simply lost his temper.”
Sylva had served in the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers between 2002 and 2012, completing two tours in Iraq and one in Kosovo before being discharged on medical grounds.
Since then he has been given treatment on a number of occasions and diagnosed with bipolar disorder, post traumatic stress disorder and depression, jurors heard.
By the time of the killing, he was working as a security guard in Canary Wharf and had been prescribed medication for his depression.
The court heard how Sylva’s family knew about his struggle with depression and he was briefly admitted to Chelsea and Westminster Hospital after telling his mother he was feeling suicidal on August 9 last year.
The day before the killing, the defendant allegedly told his brother Damian Sylva that he was going to kill himself or someone else.
After speaking for a long time, Sylva appeared to calm down and said he was getting ready for work, jurors were told.
When Sylva called his brother to say he had “murdered his girlfriend” the next day, it was the last thing he expected to hear, Mr Glasgow said.
In a call to emergency services to report the killing , Sylva allegedly said: “I’m ex-Army and I’ve got lots of mental health issues.”
Asked why he had done it, he allegedly said: “She’s just get on my nerves, man, trying to fight me and take my money so I had to defend myself (sic).”
Jamaica-born Sylva, of Grayshott Road, Clapham, has denied murder but pleaded guilty to Ms Kerr’s manslaughter.
The Old Bailey trial is expected to go on for up to 10 days.