COUNTY NEWS: Life sentence for murderer after '˜senseless' deaths

A man convicted of killing two of his parters five years apart has been jailed for life.

Robert Trigg has been handed a life sentence. Picture: Eddie Mitchell
Robert Trigg has been handed a life sentence. Picture: Eddie Mitchell

Yesterday, following a two-week trial, a jury at Lewes Crown Court found Robert Trigg guilty of the manslaughter of 35-year-old Caroline Devlin on March 26, 2006, and guilty of murdering another girlfriend, 52-year-old Susan Nicholson, on April 17, 2011.

Both deaths at the time were ruled as non-suspicious and he was only brought to justice after a five-year campaign by Ms Nicholson’s parents, Peter and Elizabeth Skelton, who suspected their daughter had been murdered.

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During the trial Trigg’s history of violence against women when drunk was revealed, as were previous convictions for attacks on other girlfriends.

After just over six-and-a-half hours of deliberation the jury unanimously found him guilty of both counts.

Today at Lewes Crown Court Trigg, formerly of Park Crescent, Worthing, was sentenced to life with a minimum of 25 years for the killing of both women.

Earlier this morning, arriving at court in handcuffs, he was asked if he wanted to say anything to the families of his victims, Trigg said: “Isaiah 50, verse 11. They should be in here, not me.”

In sentencing, Judge Justice Ingrid Simler said: “The grief and sadness of these two families will never leave them. These were senseless deaths and nothing can now restore their lives, nor can any part of this sentencing process restore them either.”

Referring to Ms Nicholson’s family’s campaign for justice, she said: “Mr and Mrs Skelton, her parents, have fought doggedly and continuously since their daughters death for the police to reinvestigate her death, classified as non-suspicions and accidental at the time.”

Trigg claimed he suffocated her after he inadvertently rolled on top of her while they slept following a night of drinking. But her mother and father did not believe his story or the coroner’s verdict and spent five years begging police to re-investigative.

They hired their own pathologist to examine the case, which also led to the report into Ms Devlin’s death to be opened again. New pathology reports showed he killed Ms Devlin with a blow to the back of the head and murdered Ms Nicholson five years later.

After murdering Ms Nicholson, Trigg went to a nearby shop to buy cigarettes. He then told a neighbour he rolled onto Susan’s face and accidentally suffocated her with his stomach as the they lay and slept on the sofa after drinking vodka the night before.

After killing mum-of-four Ms Devlin he got dressed and made himself a cup of coffee and callously let two of her small children discover her body on Mothers Day.

In a victim impact statement read to the court, Elizabeth Skelton said the ordeal of the past six years had been awful and had even given her a mild heart attack.

She said: “The fight of the past six years to get justice for Sue has caused us no end of mental torture and stress. The relief and emotion of the two families was plain for the whole court to see.

“But our fight still goes on. Why it was the police were not able to bring this case to court when us, Sue’s parents in our 80s, have managed to?”

In a statement read by the prosecutor to the court, Ms Devlin’s youngest son, Brandyn McKenna, described Trigg as a ‘monster’ and said he and his three siblings had received counselling following their mother’s murder.

He said: “We don’t want to think of her as dead. Our memories of her will live in our hearts for ever.”