Thames Valley Police DCI: "This is one of the worst cases of domestic abuse I've ever seen"

Hannegret Donnelly was jailed for life this week
Hannegret Donnelly was jailed for life this week

The Bucks Herald interviewed DCI Parker, the lead police officer investigating the Hannagret Donnelly murder case and trial.

Today (Friday 22/03) Hannegret Donnelly was jailed for life after an investigation from Thames Valley Police into the Murder of Christopher Donnelly.

DCI Parker led the investigation talked us through the case.

DCI Parker was one of the first on the scene who uncovered a vile legacy of 'systematic abuse'

She said: "Today Hannegret Donnelly was jailed for life, with a minimum of 16 years for the systematic abuse of Christopher Donnelly.

"Christoher was in poor health, and had contracted bronchitis as a result of what is likely to have been years of abuse.

"He was left weakened by abuse at the hands of Hannegret, and his own mental health problems that were clearly exacerbated by the abuse.

"They were kept isolated, and Hannegret kept Christopher alienated from society making it extremely difficult for him to seek help."

DCI Parker added that this was one of the worst cases of domestic violence she has ever seen.

It took the jury just six hours to come back with a unanimous verdict, to confirm Hannegret's guilt.

"Domestic abuse cases are always complex, as it's very difficult to reconcile with the person you love wanting to cause you harm", DCI Parker continued.

"It can be catastrophic and devastating, as we've seen in this case first hand the harm coercive control can do.

"Men can be victims too, and this kind of abuse can hide in plain sight. She didn't beat Christopher in self defence, but when he did things she didn't like; when he looked at her wrong, when he bought up the wrong subjects.

"Christopher suffered horrifically at the hands of Hannegret, and the blood spatters found on the ceiling and walls confirm this.

"She failed to call for an ambulance when it was most needed - and this is why Christopher died."

DCI Parker wants to share the message that Thames Valley Police understand how difficult it is to come forward when you are a victim of domestic abuse.

However, she added: "The police are here to provide you with all the support you need, we know its daunting to come forward but there are a myriad of support agencies, both locally and nationally that can help. The police are here to protect victims and we will do our upmost to protect domestic abuse victims.

"I would urge people to take that step to prevent further murders."

Senior Crown Prosecutor Emma Currie, from the CPS, said: “This was a horrendous case of domestic abuse that went on behind closed doors.

“The medical evidence we presented in court showed the extent of Christopher Donnelly’s injuries, some of which were received within hours of his death. And the blood spatter evidence from the ceilings and walls indicated the severity of the attacks he endured over a sustained period of time.

“The jury were left in no doubt that Hannegret Donnelly intended really serious harm to her husband, and the suffering he experienced at the hands of his wife ultimately contributed to his death.”