A jilted husband who stabbed his estranged wife to death in Brighton after arming himself with knives given to them as a wedding present has been found guilty of murder.
Ty Medland, 26, used one of four knives he concealed on himself to launch a “frenzied attack” on 24-year-old Samantha Medland.
Before the attack, Medland uploaded to his Facebook page a link to a series of graphic pictures and videos of the couple having sex. A message he wrote accompanying the link referred to Mrs Medland as “the cheating, lying, unloyal whore who destroyed everything I loved and believe in”.
A two-week trial at Lewes Crown Court heard that she had become close to another man and had rebuffed her husband’s repeated attempts to patch up their marriage.
Medland, described as a “petulant, self-centred man” incapable of dealing with rejection, knifed her to death as she collected belongings from him near her workplace in Queen Square, Brighton, on February 17.
Medland, of Cavell Avenue, Peacehaven, had pleaded guilty to manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility but he was convicted of murder after six hours and four minutes of deliberation by the jury.
He showed no emotion in the dock as the jury foreman announced the verdict but some members of his family were seen clasping their hands to their mouths and sobbing.
Adjourning sentencing until Monday, Judge Anthony Scott-Gall told the jury: “You have convicted the defendant on the most compelling and overwhelming evidence. It was really the most ghastly killing. I’m sure you will never forget it.”
The judge said Medland faces life imprisonment with a minimum term of at least 25 years behind bars when he comes to sentence him.
Following the verdict, prosecutor Richard Barton read part of a victim impact statement made by Mrs Medland’s mother in which she described her devastation.
Mr Barton said: “She says that ‘My family has been absolutely devastated and shocked that Sam has been taken from us in such a way. She was in the prime of her life. We are all still coming to terms with her death. We know us as a family will never get over the loss of Samantha’.”
Three of the four knives Medland armed himself with were weddings gift, the jury heard. The fourth, and the one Medland most likely used to fatally stab her, was a lock knife.
Medland had met his wife in central Brighton earlier on the day of the stabbing to hand over her belongings but forgot some items, including a computer hard drive with pictures and personal documents. As he travelled on the bus to meet her for a second time with the forgotten belongings, he texted some friends. In one message, he wrote: “The only thing I want right now is murder/suicide.”
Another read: “I could make a joke about murder/suicide but that probably wouldn’t be funny unless I actually did it”, the court was told.
The second meeting with his wife took place in Queen Square at around 8.43pm. During an exchange between them he may have told her he intended to kill himself, jurors heard.
Mr Barton told the trial: “Whatever was said, it had an immediate and dramatic effect. The defendant took out one of the knives, in all probability the lock knife, and used it to stab Sam. She fell to the ground and, as she fell to the ground, he climbed on top of her, pinning her down with his knees.”
Ben Kennedy, a friend who had accompanied Mrs Medland, turned to see her collapsing from a distance. He then realised “to his horror” that, as Medland was “softly punching her”, he had a large knife in his hand, Mr Barton told the jury.
As a large crowd gathered, Medland used a smaller knife to slash his own wrists and stab himself in the leg. When he said he would get off his wife if he could have a cigarette, a member of the public placed one on a low wall nearby.
Police then arrived to detain Medland before he was taken to hospital. Paramedics tried to revive his wife, who was also taken to the Royal Sussex County Hospital.
Despite the efforts of medical staff, she was declared dead at 10.02pm from multiple stab wounds, including to her scalp, forehead, cheeks, neck, abdomen and back.
Two of the stab wounds penetrated major arteries, one in her shoulder and one in her abdomen, with a pathologist concluding she bled to death from those injuries.
Toxicology tests found no alcohol or drugs in either Medland or his wife. The court heard that Medland was aware of her growing bond with another man because he had accessed her Facebook account.
Medland first met his wife at a club in Luton, Bedfordshire, on November 19, 2010 after he travelled up from his home in Sussex to meet a friend.
They “hit it off almost immediately” through their shared love of heavy metal and computers and, just over a month later, on Christmas Day 2010, they got engaged. Two months later, Medland left Sussex to move in with her in Luton.
Medland had trouble finding work in Bedfordshire and, when his wife ran into difficulties with her job at a hotel, the couple moved to Sussex to live with his mother, Janet Medland.
In the same period, Mrs Medland fell pregnant, but by January last year, at the time of her first scan, it emerged that she had miscarried, placing a strain on their relationship.
Mr Barton said Medland was hit with further bad news around the same time with the death of his daughter from a previous relationship.
He started to suffer from depression for which he received medication, jurors were told. Mrs Medland, on the other hand, “seemed to deal with things rather better”.
She gained new work at warranty company Domestic & General in Brighton, initially as a call handler, before winning promotion to a supervisory role.
Cross-examined by Mr Barton, Medland was asked: “The overwhelming preponderance of evidence is that you murdered your wife, didn’t you?’’ Medland replied: “No, I did not murder her.”
In a statement following the case, Mrs Medland’s mother, Amelia Shah, said: “My family and I are absolutely devastated and shocked that Sam has been taken from us in such a way. She was in the prime of her life.
“She was young, beautiful, loving, and a wonderful daughter, sister and auntie who we miss terribly.
“We are all still coming to terms with her death and miss her so much. The loss is immense. No-one should outlive their children. The actions of Ty Medland have caused devastation and heartbreak to my family.
“Through the court trial I can understand what happened to Sam and how much effort was taken to try and save her. We would like to thank everyone who tried to help Sam that night, especially her good friend, Ben Kennedy.
“We extend those thanks to Sussex Police, ambulance and hospital staff and everyone else who has helped and supported us. I know we, as a family, will never get over the loss of our Sam.”