“Your view was that if you can’t have her, no one can have her, and you killed her."
-Judge John Lafferty
It was the 25th of April 2019. A Thursday. Thirty five year old Amy Parsons lived with her boyfriend, thirty eight year old Roderick Deakin-White, in Whitechapel East London, United Kingdom. They were in a relationship for eight years and Amy moved from Melbourne in Australia to London to be with him in 2010.
Roderick worked as a graphic designer and Amy had a job as a personal assistant with an Insurance company in London. Amy wanted to one day get married and have children. She once believed the man she would permanently settle down with was Roderick but that had changed.
Roderick and Amy
Roderick depended on Amy both emotionally and financially. She paid the rent on the one bedroom apartment they shared and his behaviour over her was controlling and coercive. He read her diary and looked at her text messages and even followed her on different occasions. Over the course of a few months, Amy realised that she would be happier without him and began making plans to end their relationship.
A big issue that Amy had with the relationship was Roderick's fondness for cross dressing. He knew this made her uncomfortable and she asked him to stop. But he wouldn't. In the weeks leading up to that day, the 25th of April, Amy had developed feelings for one of her colleagues James Saunders. They worked together and began meeting for lunch dates before eventually becoming involved physically. Roderick was aware of the relationship and had sent text messages to James to tell him to back off. But Amy had made her mind up. She was leaving Roderick.
Amy and Roderick
That evening, Amy told Roderick she was leaving him for James. Roderick pleaded with her to stay and made plenty of promises about how he would change and be less controlling. It was all too late though. There was nothing Roderick could say that would change Amy's mind.
Just before 9pm that night, Amy went into the bathroom to take a shower. The shower head was over the bathtub and Amy stood in the bath facing the shower head. She had her back to the door and did not see Roderick enter the bathroom. He didn't enter to plead with her further. He didn't even want to speak to her. His mind was made up. If he couldn't have her, then nobody else would. Roderick had a pull up bar in his hand,used for chin-ups in exercise, and began to strike Amy with it repeatedly.
Amy and Roderick
It wasn't until the next day, the 26th of April, that police discovered Amy's body. Roderick told police that he tried to kill himself but could not go through with it. Instead he confessed to a stranger and his father. His father rang the police and told them what had happened and the stranger persuaded him to hand himself in.
When police found Amy's body, it was clear that the attack was a sustained and savage attack. There were two severe blows to the back of Amy's head that were delivered in similar places at the same angle and multiple bruises to the base of her neck. Amy lost her tooth and split her jaw. There were injuries to her right wrist and shoulder. These may have been caused when she attempted to protect herself from the blows.
Roderick told police that he struck Amy with the pull up bar but claimed that he did not intend to murder her and it was an accident. Roderick was charged with the murder of Amy Parsons.
At Roderick's Trial, the Court heard that a postmortem found Amy suffered major fractures to her head and face and died of a traumatic brain injury. It was the Prosecution's case that Roderick attacked Amy after she told him she was leaving him. The Prosecutor told the Court:
“Unwilling to accept that she was going to leave him, he used a metal bar to hit her repeatedly around the head while she was showering in the Docklands flat which they shared.”
They believed it was a sustained attack which lasted at least 2-3 minutes. A neighbour heard terrifying screams at the time. After Roderick attacked Amy, he left her alone in the bathroom. At that stage, she was not dead but had suffered horrific injuries. He put on his coat, turned on the burglar alarm in the apartment and left. Roderick threw both of their phones in the Thames.
Roderick denied murder and said that Amy was "being confrontational" that night. Dr Tim Green had conducted several medical assessments of Roderick following his arrest and gave evidence at the Trial. He told the Court that Roderick recognised that the cross dressing caused friction and discomfort in their relationship. Amy caused Roderick great distress by making ultimatums and asking him to stop doing it. According to Roderick, Amy made derogatory comments about him and told him that James was "more of a man" than he was. She told him she would be spending the night with James. He pleaded with her to stay and even told her if she didn't , he would commit suicide. According to Roderick, Amy said that she wouldn't even go to his funeral. That caused Roderick to "lose it" and hit her with the bar. It was his defence that Amy's words caused him to lose control. He told the Court:
"I remember that action hitting her, I remember her slipping down in the bath, I don't remember the blood, I don't remember the sounds.I remember hitting her when she was still upright. I remember her slipping and then she was lying in the bath. And I hate the sight of blood."
The Jury did not believe that it was an accident or that Roderick lost control. They believed that he intended to kill her. Roderick was found guilty of murder and sentenced to life in prison to serve a minimum term of seventeen years.
Amy tried to make her relationship with Roderick work but when she finally realised that she could have a better life without him, Roderick would not allow that to happen. Amy suffered horrific injuries, including severe facial, skull and jaw fractures and brain injuries and when Roderick left the apartment that evening, Amy was still alive. He left her to die alone.
That night, Roderick was full of rage and jealousy and as the Detective Inspector in the case said, Amy paid the ultimate price.
Scotland Yard Detective Inspector Darren Jones said:
"Amy Parsons paid the ultimate price because of Roderick's controlling, selfish and violent nature.He relied on Amy's financial support and I believe he could not stand the fact that she was moving on and refused to be taken advantage of any more.Amy had become aware of what kind of person he was and was beginning to take steps to leave Roderick.These steps included a new relationship, free from Roderick's coercive and abusive behaviour.Because of this Roderick launched a vicious and brutal attack on Amy, without warning and in her own home, where she should have been safe and secure."
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"The criminal justice system will take a hard look at what happened to Matthew Eappen. It is up to the rest of us to take an even harder look at who is minding our children."
- Eileen McNamara, the Boston Globe
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