"I am sorry for what I have done, but she deserved it."
- Aubrey Padi
It was the 7th of July 2021. A Wednesday. Forty three old Tamara Padi returned to her home in Lake Road, Staybridge, Tameside, Greater Manchester, United Kingdom at around 1.30 am. She lived there with her two children. Her colleague was with her as Tamara said they could sleep there for a few hours. They had just been on a night care visit and when they got home, they went straight to sleep. Tamara’ s colleague slept downstairs and Tamara went upstairs to her bedroom. One of her daughters was asleep at the time in the adjoining bedroom.
A couple of hours later, Tamara’s colleague called the police and told them that Tamara had been attacked and needed help. The colleague knew who attacked Tamara and told the police that it was her husband. They heard screams from upstairs at 3.30am and then saw Tamara’s husband running out the front door. Tamara’s husband, forty one year old Aubrey Pule Padi, also called police and admitted that he attacked his wife but he told them that she deserved it. He wasn’t at the house when police arrived, he had already fled the scene.
When police arrived at the house, they found that Tamara was in need of urgent medical attention. She had sustained significant injuries and was taken to hospital immediately. But her injuries were too severe and when Tamara arrived at the hospital, she was pronounced dead. She had been savagely beaten and stabbed to death.
The police investigation revealed that Tamara had only moved into the house in February 2021. She had separated from Aubrey that same month.
Tamara was from Butterworth in the Eastern Cape and lived in Khayelitsha, Cape Town, South Africa when she met Aubrey. He was also from South Africa. He was from Pretoria and was a South African Navy employee. They moved to the United Kingdom in 2004 to start a family and for more work opportunities.
Tamara wanted more opportunities in relation to study too and when she arrived in the United Kingdom, she studied and worked hard to obtain a Masters in Law. She wanted to provide for her children. At the time of their separation, Tamara and Aubrey had been married for fourteen years and had two daughters. Even though divorce was imminent, they remained friends for the sake of the two girls, fifteen year old Tia and ten year old Mia, and they launched a business together called Green Leaf Health and Social Care Ltd, a care provision company for adults. Police had to try to establish what happened to cause Aubrey to violently attack Tamara in the early hours of that morning and try to ascertain why he was even in Tamara’s house in the first place.
Police spoke to Tamara’s colleague and friend who was there that morning. They told police that they woke due to the screams and saw Aubrey about to leave via the front door. Before he left, Aubrey ran back upstairs when he heard Tamara scream again, and then ran back downstairs and out the front door.
The knife that was used to stab Tamara was found under a car close to the property. The owner discovered it when they moved the car to drive to work. A couple of days after Tamara’s death, Aubrey was arrested and charged with murder. He pleaded guilty.
The Court heard of the events that led up to Tamara's murder. Despite appearances, namely that Tamara and Aubrey were getting on after their separation, Aubrey’s actions leading up to that fatal morning suggested otherwise. Just one day before she was murdered, Aubrey was in Tamara's car and asked her to give him her phone. When she refused to let him take her phone, he punched her in the face. Later that night he sent her a number of text messages, some of which were texts apologizing to Tamara but others were threatening messages, one of those text messages read:
"this is the last time you had disrespected me."
Tamara did not want Aubrey to look through her phone. Even though they had separated, he was still trying to control her and two weeks before her death, she discovered that he had been listening to her voicemails on her phone.
Tamara told friends that she found his actions creepy and that he was driving her away from him. But Tamara was also guarded and private and didn’t share all the details of what she may have had to endure with anyone.
The Court heard that Tamara's murder was a planned and carefully executed attack. Without Tamara’s knowledge or consent, Aubrey gained access by forced entry into Tamara's home while she was at work on the 7th of July and concealed himself inside the home so that she wouldn't see him when she got home from work. The Court heard that he lay in wait for her to return home. He set an alarm on his phone so that he could sleep for a few hours while waiting for her to return.
Aubrey brought a number of items with him to Tamara's house which the Prosecutor told the Court was further evidence that it was a planned attack. He brought a hammer, knives, gloves, a metal exercise bar and cord with him.
The Court heard that Aubrey's alarm went off at 3.30am. He wanted to ensure that Tamara was in bed and asleep when he attacked her. Aubrey brutally beat Tamara with a metal exercise bar. Tamara fought back and she had numerous defensive wounds on her body. After the vicious beating, he thought she was dead at that point and he ran downstairs but he heard a noise and scream just before he opened the front door and ran back upstairs. Using one of the knives he brought with him, he stabbed her eight times with it.
Aubrey left the house and called the police. He confessed and said that he planned to kill himself. He told the Dispatcher:
"I am sorry for what I have done, but she deserved it."
Aubrey cried in Court as he was sentenced. The Judge in the case, Judge Elizabeth Nicholls, said:
"In that moment the defendant effectively deprived their children of both parents, one through death, the other by the annihilation of trust in their father, who up until that moment they believed they knew and loved. You waited in the house for your wife to return from a late-night care visit, knowing that your daughter slept in the adjoining bedroom. So clear and considered were your intentions, you even set your phone alarm giving yourself a chance to sleep and ensuring that your wife would be asleep before you attacked her."
Judge Nicholls also said that:
"Some suggest that you must have suffered a breakdown, however no medical evidence, nor any evidence has been presented to suggest that mental health issues had any part to play in this offense. You may have been stressed and distressed by your work and or divorce, but neither explain the brutality displayed.
Like so much violence against women, you tried to place the blame upon the victim, suggesting that she had wronged you and that you were driven to this conduct. Even going so far as to say she 'deserved it.
And what type of parental love is it that lies alongside your child while waiting to murder her mother?
There are no excuses and no fault lies with the victim, Tamara. This offense is entirely your responsibility. No woman should have to endure at the hands of a man what Tamara did in her final hours."
Aubrey’s Attorney, Stephen Meadowcroft QC, defending, said it was “undoubtedly a shocking, tragic and very sad case” and that “those who knew Tamara and the defendant were shocked by what happened.”
The Court heard that friends described Aubrey as having a calm and caring nature and was a loving father. His Defense told the Court that Aubrey had no previous convictions and had pleaded guilty at the earliest opportunity and asked if that could be taken into account with the sentence.
Aubrey was sentenced to a minimum term of 23 years in prison.
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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
"The effects of abuse are devastating and far reaching. Domestic violence speaks many languages, has many colors and lives in many different communities."
- Sandra Pupatello