Tuesday, 2 June 2009

Deborah Hatto, from Crawley, was stabbed to death as she slept in her apartment in Coin, near Malaga, Spain, last June.

Deborah Hatto, from Crawley, was stabbed to death as she slept in her apartment in Coin, near Malaga, Spain, last June.The mother's blood-soaked body was found in bed by her 10-year-old daughter after she was stabbed as she slept. Her German boyfriend Jimmie Willis, who was described as “cold and calculating” by forensic psychologists, has been found guilty of her murder. Ms Hatto's daughter, who was just ten at the time, told a Costa Del Sol court via video link how she discovered her mother's lifeless body on the eve of her 42nd birthday. Forensic scientists, who examined her body, said there was no sign of a struggle and Ms Hatto was most likely asleep in bed when she received the single fatal stab wound. The murder weapon was discovered next to the mother’s body. Officers from Spain's Guardia Civil said Willis, 60, originally from Frankfurt, had claimed he struck because "he couldn't take it any more." They also said they found traces of her blood on his neck, behind his ear. The Scientific Police of Madrid stated that the wound inflicted on the victim coincided with the knife found at the side of the bed. But in court, Willis said the biological father of Ms Hatto's daughter was responsible for the killing - a claim that was rejected by the court. Willis' lawyers also tried to persuade the jury of five women and four men that he should be charged with unlawful killing with extenuating circumstances. A public prosecutor called for him to receive a 15 year sentence for unlawful killing, but the jury agreed with Javier Florido Martin, representing Ms Hatto's family who said the charge should be murder. Mr Martin said: “I maintained from the outset that this was a matter of murder and not unlawful killing. “The forensic psychiatrists stated that Jimmie Willis was in a perfect mental state, that he was not clinically insane and that he knew perfectly well what he was doing. “The forensic psychologist - in response to questions asked by the prosecution – described Jimmie Willis as 'cold and calculating', 'insensitive' and 'with no remorse whatsoever'. “The jury reached a verdict and declared the accused guilty of murder with no extenuating circumstances. They were 100% in agreement with the family.”

Keen traveller Ms Hatto, grew up in Horsham and moved from Crawley to Spain with her daughter three years before she was brutally killed.

Willis is due to be sentenced next week.

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