A JEALOUS boyfriend was today jailed for life after murdering his lover because she wanted to break up with him.
Joe Atkinson, 25, was “fuelled by jealously” when he knifed “prodigiously gifted” Poppy Devey Waterhouse 49 times at the Leeds flat they shared.
Leeds Crown Court heard how Atkinson had failed to come to terms with Poppy, 24, breaking off their three-year relationship in October 2018.
And in the early hours of December 14, he burst into the flat they still shared after arriving home from his work Christmas party and used a kitchen knife to inflict more than 100 separate injuries.
These included 49 knife injuries and 23 separate stab wounds all over her body.
Jason Pitter, prosecuting, said: “Poppy Devey Waterhouse was a prodigiously talented mathematician, who was described as brilliant and beautiful who, at the age of 24, had her whole life ahead of her.
UNPROVOKED ATTACK FUELLED BY JEALOUSLY
“It was a life cruelly taken away from her just before Christmas last year, because this defendant realised he was not going to be a part of this future.”
The prosecutor said, to tears from the victim’s family: “He had armed himself with a kitchen knife and murdered Poppy in an unprovoked attack fuelled by jealousy.”
In a powerful victim impact statement that was read out in court, Miss Devey Waterhouse’s mother, Julie Devey, said: “As a parent, my basic duty is to make sure that I keep my children safe.
“I failed, and I have to carry that failure with me at all times, wherever I go, whoever I am with, whatever I am doing.”
He had armed himself with a kitchen knife and murdered Poppy in an unprovoked attack fuelled by jealousy.
Prosecutor Jason Pitter
She added: “I kept scraping my hands across the floor boards where she had been left screaming and dying.
“I just wanted to scoop her up and save her.
“I now live my life with a split-screen, on one half I can see the now, and on the other half that horrific scene.”
He was this afternoon jailed for life with a minimum of 15 years after the young woman’s body was found 11 days before Christmas.
Medics rushed to the property after the alarm was raised but it was already too late.
In January, a coroner heard how paramedics were called to the flat “in relation to an assault by stabbing”.
CHANGED HIS PLEA
The brief inquest hearing was told that a post-mortem examination revealed that Poppy died from “head and neck trauma”.
Atkinson pleaded guilty to murdering Poppy in a short hearing in packed courtroom last Friday.
Dressed in a blue, crew-necked jumper, the defendant spoke only to confirm his name and to enter his guilty plea to the single charge, watched by many members of his own and his victim’s families.
A number of people in court were in tears but no details of the case were given during the hearing.
The pair lived together in the flat after meeting when they were both studying at Nottingham University.
Poppy, who was originally from Frome, in Somerset, worked as an analyst for William Hill.
In 2017 the pair visited North and South America on a trip that Poppy said would “make or break them”.
She posted dozens of photos, writing on their return: “Six months survived and still smiling.”
Her younger brother Zebedee plans to run the Leeds Half Marathon on May 12 in memory of his sister.
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