A skydiver murderer killed his girlfriend after she confronted him over the rape of a teenage girl. Clair Armstrong, 51, challenged Ashley Kemp, 53, after the allegations put their relationship under extreme strain.
Hours after the confrontation in November 2022, the mum of three was found dead in her bed at her home in Messingham, Lincolnshire after Kemp confessed to police.
He reportedly told police: “I’ve killed my girlfriend. We got into a fight and I ended up strangling her. She is upstairs on the bed in the main bedroom.
“We just had an argument, that was all, and it just got heated. She started thrashing out and I just reacted.” He added: “I never react…I pinned her down and just choked her.”
Following the phone call, Kemp was arrested by police on suspicion of murder. He was found on a grass verge at 2.24 am on the B1398, having just crashed his car into a tree. Hours earlier, Clair had been seen returning home with Kemp from the pub.
During his trial for murder, the court heard how Kemp claimed Clair became hysterical when she challenged him about the alleged attempted rape.
He said Clair asked him to leave and “grabbed him” before he “squeezed her throat for what seemed like an eternity until she stopped”.
Prosecuting, Richard Thyne KC, said the murderer killed Clair “in a fit of rage”. He added: “If you weren’t going to have her, no one was.”
Kemp has now been convicted of murder after the trial at Grimsby Crown Court. Speaking after the verdict, Clair’s family said their “lives changed forever” when she was murdered.
In a statement read by Clair’s brother-in-law, Ian Farrell, they said: “We received news which has shattered us all and left a huge hole in our lives that can never be filled.
“Clair our beautiful sister and mum was tragically taken from us in such horrific circumstances that we will never accept or understand.
“We miss her incredibly and regardless of what the person responsible for killing Clair receives as punishment it will never ever be enough to ease our pain for losing her.”
During the trial, jurors were told that at the time of the murder, a teenage girl had made “allegations of a sexual nature” against Kemp.
Although he was arrested, there has been as yet no decision on whether or not to charge Kemp for the alleged attempted rape.
It was reported that before her murder, Clair had told friends that her relationship with the skydiver was “struggling” after the claims were made. She also allegedly told friends that she could see herself being single again in the future.
Claire had been with Kemp for around two years after the pair met at the skydiving centre, Drop Zone where both worked as instructors.
Kemp will be sentenced on May 3.