A jealous Uber driver who knifed his wife 50 times after Googling for the “most painful place to stab someone” was jailed for life for her murder today (thurs).
Jose Leonardo, 56, went out to buy beer after fatally stabbing mother-of-three Maria Mbombo, 52.
She slowly bled to death after being knifed up to 50 times at the home they shared in Belsize Park, north London on May 18.
Leonardo, also known as Jeff Mbombo, was violent towards his wife and was convinced she was cheating on him – even though he had twin children with another woman.
He also believed he had the rights to her money.
On the day he killed her, he entered two search terms on Google on his phone – “can I survive stab in the eye?”, and “most painful place to stab someone”.
He then bought visitor parking permits online from Camden Council.
Mrs Mbombo had a daughter, Josi Mbombo, now 28, from a previous relationship, and the couple had two sons together, Jacque and Carl Mbombo, aged 27 and 23.
All three were living at home at the time their mother was killed.
Leonardo admitted killing his wife, but claimed he was guilty of manslaughter on the grounds of loss of control.
But a jury rejected his claims, and he was convicted of murder on Monday.
Leonardo was cleared of perverting the course of justice by interfering with witnesses in the run-up to the trial.
At the Old Bailey today he was jailed for life with a minimum of 22 years.
Sentencing Leonardo, trial judge Mrs Justice MacGowan said: “The devastation that you have caused this family is in my view impossible to imagine and incapable of being repaired.
“They have behaved throughout what can only be the most appalling ordeal with dignity and courage, and their conduct throughout the trial and today stands as a very great testament to the sort of woman their mother was, and the affection and love in which they hold.
“The idea that your son should blame himself for not protecting her is tragic.
“I am not, on the evidence that I have heard, persuaded that you did intend to kill her, but I am certain that you intended to inflict maximum pain, that you had gone to the lengths of actually carrying out research of how you could inflict maximum pain.”
She said Leonardo had acted “out of misplaced jealously and a total desire to control her and what she did”.
Mrs Justice MacGowan added: “You are a selfish and self-pitying man who killed out of his jealousy and possessiveness and greed.
“There has been no remorse at any stage. You have showed no sympathy or empathy.”
Leonardo showed no reaction as he was sent down from the dock.
In a victim impact statement, Mrs Mbombo’s daughter Josi told the court: “My mother was my sister, my best friend, my comforter, my right hand, my shield, my motivation, my reason, my purpose, my life, my everything.
“Love that was pure, unconditional, reciprocated and never had ulterior motives. There was nothing she would keep from me, and vice verse.”
Wiping away tears, she continued: “All this has been taken away from me – the one person I trusted more than anyone else in this world.
“It is now that I live the expression being in a room filled with people but still feeling alone.
“I hated hearing from people words like, ‘she was so young’, because it reminded me of how she was robbed of so much in her life.
“It is unfair. No one should try to play God.
“My mother always wanted to help people. She was an angel.
“Seeing my mother constantly make selfless acts to help people made me the woman I am today.”
A statement was also read from her son Jacques, who said his “whole life has completely changed”.
He added: “There is a big massive eternal void in my heart.
“All I can see in my head is my mother being stabbed in the living room and then dragged away while she cried and pleaded for her life.”
And her youngest son Carl said he blamed himself for what happened, and said his mother had an “angelic, childlike innocence”.
He said: “I try to carry on with my day to day tasks, but sometimes I feel overwhelmed with sadness.”
In mitigation Kerim Fuad QC, defending, said: “The stark reality is that it may very well be that he dies in prison.
“For all his flaws he loves his five children, and he knows that he has failed them.
“They have not, and did not, ever fail him.”
Josi Mbombo shook her head as the court heard this.
Mr Fuad added: “It seems that this defendant was perhaps consumed by his perception of his wife’s infidelity.”
The couple first met in 1988 when they were living in Holland, and moved to the UK in 1990.
Paramedics were called to the family home by Carl shortly before midnight on May 18 this year.
Emergency services arrived, and found the body of Mrs Mbombo covered in blood and “cold to the touch”.
Shortly before calling 999, the sons had arrived at the block of flats and spotted their father leaving, wearing blood-stained clothes.
He did not respond to his sons, who then ran into the flat and found their mother lying on the floor on her back.
Meanwhile, Leonardo went to a nearby convenience store and tried to buy a bottle of beer, but the shop owner refused to sell him alcohol because it was late.
Two officers arrived shortly afterwards, who asked Leonardo if he had been stabbed.
Prosecutor John Price QC said he murmured something about his wife, and one of the officers asked, “is your wife here?”, to which he replied, “my wife is killed”.
During a search of his home, police found three knives and a cleaver in the bedroom, and smears of blood, or “dragmarks”, were found on the floor between the living room and the bedroom.
Mr Price said the attack was not the first time Leonardo had been violent to his wife.
He said: “Family members had witnessed it before, especially when he was under the influence of alcohol.
“Such incidents had not previously been reported to the police.
“This defendant was frequently angered by his suspicions of sexual infidelity in her part.
“But, from what the family know, you may come in due course to the conclusion that so far as infidelity was concerned, he was in no position to ‘cast the first stone’.”
A post mortem gave the cause of death as “multiple incised wounds”, and found she had slowly bled to death.