The father of a woman who was found slaughtered in a pool of her own blood has recalled the harrowing moment he found her.
Graham Tinkley found the body of dogwalker Clair Ablewhite, 47, in her £450,000 home in the picturesque village of Colston Basset on the outskirts of Nottinghamshire last February.
While the distraught father desperately battled to save his daughter’s life after he discovered her, at the same moment her scorned lover and murderer John Jessop, 26, was said to have been out drinking with friends.
The shocking discovery triggered a police probe and a long-running saga which ended this week with Jessop being jailed for life at Nottinghamshire Crown Court.
Graham Tinkley found the body of his daugther Clair Ablewhite, 47, (above) in her £450,000 home in the picturesque village of Colston Basset on the outskirts of Nottinghamshire in February
Mr Tinkley, 75, this week admitted he still gets nightmares and struggles to sleep after the harrowing ordeal.
Mrs Ablewhite suffered extensive knife wounds to the neck and chest, in addition to a series of blunt force and defensive injuries during the vicious attack inside her home.
Scorned lover John Jessop (pictured) sliced his victim’s throat after he was unable to accept and was today jailed for life
Factory worker Jessop left the £450,000 property without alerting the authorities, and arrived back at his flat in Newark, Notts, in the early hours of the morning.
Mrs Ablewhite’s body was discovered by her shocked 74-year-old father Graham Tinkley in the bloodstained home the following day.
Mr Tinkley, who found his daughter lying by the fireplace still in her pyjamas, told the court: ‘To this day I wake up in the night; panic attacks. I see Clair in my dreams.
‘I see blood gushing from her throat trying to resuscitate her dead body.’
He was also dealt fresh heartbreak after his wife, Sandra, was diagnosed with cancer following the tragedy.
Mr Tinkley, from Cropwell Bishop, said: ‘It was absolutely terrible. It is all still a nightmare. We are thinking about it all the time, we cannot even go for a walk.
‘Our lives have been destroyed. My wife got cancer since that happened, because she smoked so many cigarettes to cope with it all.’
Mrs Tinkley, 72, was diagnosed with cancer last October and has had part of her lung removed. Mr Tinkley said: ‘She has had 20 per cent of her lung taken away and she is on chemotherapy at the moment.’
The parents said the family were ‘living a nightmare’ after their daughter’s murder.
Mr Tinkley added: ‘Clair moved to the new place because she wanted a new start in life after her divorce. She was very popular and loved, and there were over 400 people who attended her funeral.’
Jessop, 26, was described as ‘bewildered’ when Ms Ablewhite (abov) chose to ‘cool off’ the couple’s fling after admitting to concerns over their age difference – before cycling to her £450,000 cottage home where he launched a ‘persistent and brutal’ attack
Ms Ablewhite’s sons previously paid tribute to their ‘one in a million’ and ‘truly one of a kind’ mother (pictured above)
Jessop, 26, was described as ‘bewildered’ when Ms Ablewhite chose to ‘cool off’ the couple’s fling after admitting to concerns over their age difference – before cycling to her £450,000 cottage home where he launched a ‘persistent and brutal’ attack.
The factory worker, who met his lover on the Facebook Dating website, later became the subject of a manhunt and was arrested 11 days following the murder, which took place on the night of February 25 last year.
He pleaded guilty to murder at a previous court hearing in October and yesterday judge Stuart Rafferty KC set the minimum term at 17 years and eight months, taking into account the number of days Jessop had already spent in police custody.
But Ms Ablewhite’s parents say the length of the sentence seems too lenient.
Mr Tinkley said: ‘He [Jessop] had no remorse. He actually planned to do it that night. It was caught on video all her screaming for two minutes when she was attacked. The sentence is just not long enough.
‘He brutally murdered her. He destroyed our lives, my wife got cancer. At the end of the day, 17 years and eight months is not a life sentence. He will still be young when he gets out. I do not want him to ever get out of prison ever again. Because he could do that to somebody else.’
Forensic experts are pictured in Colston Basset the morning after Ms Ablewhite’s body was discovered
Colston Bassett is based in the Vale of Belvoir on the Nottinghamshire-Leicestershire border and has a population of around 400.
Mrs Tinkley, who has been in hospital twice for chemotherapy, said: ‘I knew something was wrong, but Clair’s murder just brought it up quicker. When we first found out what happened, cigarettes and booze came out to help us cope.’
She said she was smoking around ten cigarettes a day to help her cope after the tragedy, adding: ‘It was just a way of coping at the time with what happened.
‘Sometimes I catch myself thinking ‘it is not true’. What I found hard was that she was there from Friday night when he did it right through some of Saturday, when we realised she would lay down there all those hours on her own. I just could not get that out of my mind.’
While she is grateful that her daughter’s killer did ‘not get away with it’, Mrs Tinkley said she was hoping that Jessop would have got at least 25 years.
Mrs Tinkley added: ‘Nobody can imagine what my husband went through. We are living a nightmare and it will never go away.’