UPDATE: Arthur Simpson-Kent jailed for life for murder of EastEnders actress Sian Blake and their two children
PUBLISHED: 14:46 05 October 2016 | UPDATED: 14:46 05 October 2016
The 49-year-old’s sentencing hearing began on Tuesday
Former EastEnders actress Sian Blake and her two young sons were brutally battered and stabbed to death by her “monster” partner after she decided to leave him, a court has heard.
Arthur Simpson Kent killed Ms Blake, 43, and their sons, Zachary, eight, and four-year-old Amon, at the family home in Erith, before burying their bodies in the back garden.
They had been hit on the head before being stabbed in the neck or throat by Simpson Kent, who painted over bloodstains in their bungalow before fleeing to his native Ghana.
The former hairdresser was given a whole life sentence today (Wednesday).
The Old Bailey was told that Ms Blake, the family’s main breadwinner, had recently been diagnosed with terminal motor neurone disease.
This, along with her “unhealthy” relationship with Simpson Kent, led her to plan to take the children and move back in with her mother.
Mark Heywood QC, prosecuting, said Ms Blake’s condition had weakened her arms and hands to the extent that she would not have been able to fight off an attacker.
The killer hairdresser and cannabis dealer had carried out the premeditated attack on three victims who had been “unable to defend themselves” after becoming aware of Ms Blake’s plan to leave, he alleged.
Mr Heywood said: “The evidence suggests, and this much is not disputed, that, on the night of December 14 2015, the defendant killed each of them in turn with heavy, deliberate, repeated blows, with a blunt instrument not since recovered - and then by cutting and stabbing them with a bladed weapon in a way that ensured their deaths.
“He then covered his crimes by moving, wrapping and burying each of them, cleaning and partially painting his home.
“He misled friends, family and the police, among others, as to what he had done and where his partner and children had gone.”
Bloodstains belonging to Ms Blake and the two boys were later found at the bungalow, before their bodies were discovered.
Members of Ms Blake’s family wept in court as the case was opened in front of a packed public gallery, while Simpson Kent, 49, sat impassively in the dock, often with his eyes shut.
He faces a possible whole-life sentence after admitting the triple killing in Erith, south-east London.
In a statement read in court her mother Lindell Blake said the family were living a “life sentence” of pain and sorrow since the murders.
She added: “We live knowing how Sian and the children would have been scared, terrified, before this monster slaughtered them in their home.”
Ms Blake played Frankie Pierre in 56 episodes of EastEnders between 1996 and 1997.
The court heard that the killings happened the day after Ms Blake visited her mother and asked to move back in with her, along with Simpson Kent and the boys.
When Mrs Blake said Simpson Kent could not, her daughter “appeared to accept it”, Mr Heywood said, and suggested they would move over Christmas.
He added: “That was the last time Sian Blake was directly seen alive by family members.”
In the days following her death, her family received texts from her mobile phone saying she had gone away and did not want to speak to them, in what the prosecution said was “a deliberate attempt to mislead”.
Bearded Simpson Kent flew to Ghana after messaging a friend saying: “I can’t go into details about what I have done but I only have 2 choices. Go to Ghana one way or Die (sic).”
While in the town of Busua, in Ghana, the court heard, he was seen “really partying” on New Year’s Eve and taking two young women to a cafe the following morning. He was held by local police days later.
He told police in Accra that the murders were part of an agreed murder-suicide pact because of Ms Blake’s terminal illness and his poor relationship with her family, the prosecution said.
However, his lawyer Jim Sturman QC said that while the couple had previously discussed “ending it all”, it was not a mercy killing.
He said “without the MND this killing would not have taken place”, adding: “There was no agreement to kill in this way and it was against this backdrop that the guilty pleas were entered.
“It is not suggested that the killings were a mercy killing. It is our case that Simpson Kent snapped under the pressure of the disease, the way it was killing Sian and the inevitability of it all.”
He added that the triple killer was “not a man prone to violence”, saying: “What happened on that night was a truly extraordinary and out-of-character murder.”
Mr Sturman also said there was no evidence to back prosecution claims that Ms Blake was planning to leave Simpson Kent.
Mr Justice Singh adjourned passing sentence until Wednesday.