Jealous ex-partner given life for murder of mother of two in front of children

A jealous ex-partner who murdered a mother of two in front of her children has been jailed for a minimum of 27 years.

Obert Moyo, 46, attacked Perseverance “Percy” Ncube, 35, in her bedroom before he chased her into the street and stabbed her through the heart with a foot-long meat skewer.

Her 10-year-old daughter and 12-year-old son bravely fought off Moyo as he entered the family home in the early hours of November 10 and strangled Ms Ncube, Manchester Crown Court heard.

Perseverance Ncube
Perseverance Ncube (Greater Manchester Police/PA)

Their efforts were partially successful as she managed to get off the bed and escape and her children pushed Moyo back as they ran out of the house in Little Hulton, Greater Manchester.

Clutching a mobile phone Ms Ncube dialled 999 and told an operator: “There’s a guy running after me, I know him” and she could be heard shouting: “Someone please help me, please.”

Seconds later the defendant caught up with her and delivered a single blow to the chest with “severe force” which pierced her left lung and went through her heart.

Prosecutor Eloise Marshall KC told Manchester Crown Court: “The children can be heard in the background of the 999 call. One of them lays beside her in the street while the other prayed for their mother’s life.”

Moyo fled the scene before he was arrested in Bolton later the same day, said Miss Marshall.

A rucksack that Moyo brought to the address was later found to have contained various items including a rusty hammer, a knife, a screwdriver, a black face mask and pictures showing the defendant and Ms Ncube.

The prosecutor said Ms Ncube ended their relationship last summer when she discovered he was contacting other women but the defendant could not accept it was over and then stalked her when she met another man in September.

In the months before her death he was regularly seen by neighbours hanging outside her home, the court was told, and data from his electronic tag – fitted by the Home Office because he was an overstayer in the UK – located him there for almost every evening in November up to the stabbing.

Moyo was on licence at the time of the killing from a 14-year jail term imposed at Lewes Crown Court in January 2013 for attacking another woman following their relationship break-up.

The victim was working at a care home when Moyo broke in through a window by unscrewing it and burning it with a blowtorch, the court heard.

Once inside and armed with numerous weapons including two knives and a screwdriver he went on to repeatedly punch her, cut her with the knife and strangle her.

Miss Marshall said: “Similarly to the present case, Moyo had a picture of the victim in the bag he had brought with him.”

Moyo, who then lived in Brighton, was convicted of wounding with intent, threats to kill and aggravated burglary.

Other previous convictions included the harassment of two women in 2007 and 2009, with the latter leading to a six-month prison sentence.

The court heard he failed to tell his probation officer as part of his licence conditions that he had started a new relationship with Ms Ncube, a single mother with two jobs as a childminder and a bookkeeper.

In a victim personal statement, Ms Ncube’s son said: “Me and my sister have been robbed of our mother and our whole life. Every day with a burning pain, I miss her, I miss being able to hug her. I miss being able to talk to her. Mum I miss you and I will always love you.”

Her daughter told Moyo: “I just want to say you have ruined my whole life… you have stolen my mum from me. I really thought that you were a father to me but you are not… I hate you.”

Moyo pleaded guilty on Monday to murder ahead of the scheduled start of his trial.

Sentencing Moyo to a life jail term, Judge Patrick Field KC told him: “Perseverance Ncube was described by others as trusting, kind-hearted, cheerful, hard-working and a good example to all.

“She was a mother to two young children who will no longer benefit from her care, her love and her guidance. What they witnessed was utterly terrible.

“Ms Ncube formed a relationship with you in the spring of 2021, notwithstanding the advice of others who knew something about your background.

“When Ms Ncube formed a relationship with another man in September 2023 you were consumed by jealousy and your behaviour deteriorated further.

“This fatal attack took place in front of her children. You then ran away leaving Perseverance Ncube to die in the street. The cries of distress and terror accompanying that scene were truly awful. The impact on those children is unimaginable.

“This was a calculated, premeditated, brutal and wicked offence.”

He said features of the murder were “remarkably similar” to the offences that led to his 2013 conviction.

Judge Field went on: “This is yet another offence of serious and fatal violence committed against a woman in the context of an intimate relationship or the breakdown of such a relationship.

“I am frankly less than convinced about your expressions of remorse.”

Dafydd Enoch KC, defending Moyo who sat in the dock with head bowed for most of Tuesday’s hearing, said: “We say there is real and genuine remorse, real concern for the family and friends of the deceased – something which he has continuously expressed to his legal team – and, albeit late in the day, it has been reflected with a guilty plea.

“He has a real problem with the break-up of relationships. There is clearly something in his psyche which causes him to behave wholly inappropriately when relationships are brought to an end.

“It is very interesting the deceased knew about his past and allowed him into their lives and everyone gave him a chance but he succumbed to the demons that have dogged him throughout his life.”

Moyo had been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder following events in childhood and had stopped taking his medication and reverted to alcohol, said Mr Enoch.