A jealous husband stabbed his spouse more than 20 times for speaking to another man on a night out before calling cops to say: “Hello, I just killed my wife.”, a court heard.
Violent Robert Bance, 53, has been jailed for life for the “ferocious” attack he carried out on his wife of two years, Victoria Bance, last October.
A court heard that Bance, who was drunk at the time of the murder, had been out with his wife drinking before they started arguing.
They had visited several pubs and clubs before Bance stormed out of a club, taking her bag – and money – after she was seen “yapping to a bloke”.
When mother-of-three Victoria, 37, returned home, Robert and her continued to argue and in a “frenzied attack” he stabbed her 16 times in the chest with a 17cm military style knife.
He immediately called police to confess and told handlers “Hello, I just killed my wife.”
Prosecuting, Simon Laws QC told the court: “Evidence shows they had had a row earlier that evening. They had rowed before.
“It’s fair to say this was the first occasion the defendant had resorted to violence.
“And it was violence of the most ferocious kind.”
The court heard that father-of-eight Bance, of Plymouth, Devon, had been with Victoria for four years and married to her for two.
He was her carer as she was unwell and sometimes bed-bound following an unsuccessful operation.
Bance had a good relationship with Victoria’s 12-year-old daughter, but not with her two older sons, the court heard.
According to Mr Laws, their relationship wasn’t “especially happy or unhappy” but police had been called to their home after previous arguments and neighbours would hear them row once a month.
On the night of the attack, Bance, who the court had heard was told by his GP to cut down on his alcohol intake, had stormed out of a club in Plymouth.
CCTV footage was shown to Plymouth Crown Court showing the couple visiting several establishments on October 8.
Victoria then got a taxi home and was heard crying in the back and mumbling to herself: “He’s going to kill me.”
When she arrived home, Bance was not there, so Victoria visited a neighbour’s home.
On arrival back at her house, she started to argue with Bance – who demanded to know where she had been.
The court heard Victoria’s telephone call to the emergency services – where she screamed down the handset.
Another telephone call was played in court where the emergency services had called back, where Bance answered and sounded calm. Victoria was then heard shouting her address in the background.
Mr Laws told the court that Bance killed Victoria with the military knife – which once belonged to his father – and then called the police and immediately admitted the crime.
He said: “At 1.35am the defendant calls 999 from his own phone.
“The prosecution say he is both out of breath and obviously drunk.
“He makes his admission to killing his wife. He says he stabs her and he hangs up.”
The court was then played the telephone call which heard Bance say: “Hello, I just killed my wife.”
He was then heard shouting and slurring: “I just killed her. I just killed her. Oh my god. She is dead.”
Victoria was taken to Derriford Hospital, but died in the early hours of October 9.
The court heard she had 23 wounds, 16 stab wounds to the chest, 14 deeply penetrating her heart and both of her lungs.
A pathologist found that any of the 14 could have been fatal – and the maximum depth of one of the wounds was 20cm.
Bance pleaded guilty to murder at Plymouth Crown Court and had admitted what he had done to police at the earliest opportunity.
Mr Laws added: “The relationship appears to have been characterised by jealousy in both directions.
“The children have been very significantly effected by the loss of their mother and are still very much struggling to come to terms with their loss.”
Victoria’s son Liam, 19, told the court: “Rob was always pretty much jealous whenever she spoke to anyone who was not us.
“It was as if he wanted her for himself.”
Sentencing Bance to life imprisonment with a minimum tariff of 15 years, His Honour Judge Paul Darlow said it was a “merciless attack”.
“This was, Mr Bance, a murder committed in a cold and deliberate rage.
“There can be no doubt that in attacking Victoria with a knife 23 times it was your intention to kill her.
“The evening turned sour when you accused your wife of talking to an unknown man in a pub.”
He added: “The terror and pain she experienced does not bare thinking about.”
Defending Bance, Defending, Nicolas Gerasimidis said several people had come forward and expressed shock at the “out of character” attack.
“He is clearly remorseful,” he said.
“It was totally out of character, he had a sudden loss of control. It was not in keeping with his nature.
“He is not a bad man. He is a good man who made a very, very bad mistake.”
Detective Inspector Stephen Davies of Devon and Cornwall Police said said after the case: “Rob spoke to us from the outset and didn’t try to hide anything.
“It was just such a tragic incident.”