The murderer of Samantha Eastwood hugged her sister in a twisted attempt to comfort her just hours after the midwife's disappearance and the desperate departure of her family.
Gemma Eastwood, 26, did not know that her sister, an NHS midwife, was already dead or that she was hugging her killer, the brother-in-law of Miss Eastwood's ex-fiancée.
At that time, Michael Stirling, who had an affair with Miss Eastwood, had already begun to trace a "false trail" in an attempt to conceal his crime and he would soon be texting his phone to Gemma to give him the impression that she was. still alive.
"Compelled and insensitive" Stirling, 32, had smothered Miss Eastwood at her home in Baddeley Green, in the staff. She was preparing to bury her body in a shallow grave.
Before Stirling was jailed for at least 16 years on Monday, Gemma made a moving and frightening statement to the court, saying her embrace still haunted her, reports StokeonTrent Live.
Support worker Gemma was moved when she read a statement to the court revealing how much her life had been broken as a result of the death of her beloved sister.
Gemma described her sister as her "best friend" and "mentor", while calling Stirling a "murderer".
She explained that it was "daring" to go to Miss Eastwood's home the day of her disappearance to try to throw people "off".
Gemma added, "That night, he hugged me after killing my sister. That will haunt me.
"When he killed my sister, he might as well have killed us, Mom and me."
When the case caught the country's attention, Gemma pleaded with the police while her sister was still missing.
Stirling remained impassive while Gemma read his statement, looking straight ahead or down to the floor.
Stirling acknowledged the murder of Miss Eastwood – a midwife at Royal Stoke University Hospital – at her home on July 27, as a result of "intense liaison".
He choked her, covered her head with tape, wrapped her in a duvet and buried her in an isolated site near Caverswall, where her body was discovered eight days later. .
The Stafford Crown Court learned that Stirling claimed to have killed Miss Eastwood "in a fog of anger" as the two men discussed the future of their relationship.
The court learned that he had bombed her 128 phone calls in the month before her death and that she had sent SMS, but often she was not answering and seemed to want it. to reject.
In addition to Gemma, the court heard statements from Miss Eastwood's mother, Carole, and her former partner, John Peake, whose sister is married to Stirling.
Mr. Hankin read a statement by Ms. Eastwood, who said, "I still think it should be the other way around.
"Samantha should bury me." I was so excited when Samantha asked me to give her while she was getting married.
"I will never have the chance to do that, I will never have the chance to have a grandson."
The statement states that Ms. Eastwood was transported to the hospital after learning that her daughter had died and explained how her health had deteriorated.
Ms. Eastwood said, "I feel lost without Samantha. I visit his grave every day.
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"I just do not understand why anyone would want to do that to my daughter.What did she do to deserve it?"
Mr. Hankin also read a statement from Mr. Peake, who stated, "I have always thought we would have met. Because of what has happened, I will never know and I will always wonder what could have been. "
He added that Samantha's favorite time was Christmas and that he would have a hard time enjoying another holiday season.
Mr. Peake stated that he was having trouble eating and sleeping and that he was plagued by feelings of guilt.
He adds that his relationship with his sister – Stirling's wife – has been damaged.
"It tore our family apart," he said.
In a statement issued by the Staffordshire police after the sentencing hearing, Gemma said, "Justice has been done, no matter the outcome, nothing will bring my sister back to life." lost my best friend and my best sister, my mother lost loving daughter, our lives will never be the same again.
"We would like to thank our close friends and family for all the love and support provided during this tragic time.We would also like to thank the Staffordshire Police for having set up such a strong case in such a short time.We thank our family liaison officers for the constant support and guidance.
"We ask everyone to respect our privacy throughout this difficult time, Samantha is gone but she will never be forgotten."