17-year minimum for dumbbell murder

Times Series: Nirmal Gill battered his wife to death with a dumbbell in the bedroom of their home in Bristol in July last year Nirmal Gill battered his wife to death with a dumbbell in the bedroom of their home in Bristol in July last year

A former soldier who battered his wife to death with a dumbbell after a private investigator uncovered her affair has been jailed for life.

Nirmal Gill, 49, killed Rosemary Gill, 48, in the bedroom of their home in St Werburgh's, Bristol, at around 3am on July 20 last year.

Possessive Gill had become suspicious of his wife's behaviour and contracted a team of private investigators to watch her movements.

The firm fitted a tracking device to Mrs Gill's car and regularly sent text messages of her location to Gill, who followed her in his own and borrowed cars.

Gill discovered his wife was having an affair with her ex-husband, Andrew Cooper, when he spotted the pair embracing during a secret meeting.

Three days later, he carried out the "revenge" attack, using a metal dumbbell to strike his wife on the head at least 12 times.

Mrs Gill's naked and bloody body was found eight hours later by the couple's daughter Jasmine, 19, who had been asleep in the room next door.

Gill had admitted manslaughter but denied murder, claiming he suffered a loss of control and diminished responsibility from mental illness.

But the father-of-two was convicted by a unanimous jury at Bristol Crown Court following a four-week trial.

Gill, showing no emotion, was jailed for life by Judge Neil Ford QC, the Recorder of Bristol, who told him he would serve a minimum of 17 years.

"You brutally bludgeoned your wife Rosemary to death, using a heavy dumbbell bar which you had taken from the hallway of your home and carried upstairs to her bedroom," the judge said.

"You did so because your marriage was disintegrating. You wanted the relationship to continue but Rosemary in her own words 'no longer had anything to give'.

"She had begun to find happiness with another man and she had kept that a secret from you and your children."

Mrs Gill was married to Mr Cooper from 1982 to 1986, when they separated. S he married Gill in 1989 and they had two children, Zac and Jasmine, but the relationship began to struggle last year.

At the beginning of the year, Mrs Gill met Mr Cooper and they rekindled their friendship and later their relationship. Mrs Gill asked her husband for a divorce in June last year.

"The real cause of this attack was that you were unable to accept that Rosemary was going to move on and have a life without you," the judge said.

Gill discovered his wife was having an affair with Mr Cooper on July 17, after he followed the tracker fitted to her car to the nearby town of Thornbury.

He spotted Mrs Gill kissing and hugging lorry driver Mr Cooper in his vehicle and agreed their marriage was over two days later, on July 19.

Mrs Gill left to tell Mr Cooper the good news but received a text message from Gill at around 7.30pm.

"You said that you were going to leave but you had two stipulations," the judge said

"One was you should sleep together one last time, the other was that you should make love. Not surprisingly, Rosemary wasn't interested."

Mrs Gill returned home at 10pm and in the early hours of the morning, Gill crept upstairs to her bedroom. Neighbours heard banging noises from the three-bedroomed home at 3am.

Gill claimed he had attempted suicide that evening by taking paracetamol, prescription drugs, two cans of lager and vodka.

He told the jury he woke up in the early hours of July 20 and went upstairs, where he saw his wife's bedroom light on.

"She called me into the room," Gill said. "We started to cuddle and I was unable to get an erection.

"I remember Rosemary laughing at me and calling me a sad, sad, pathetic man. I just remember hitting Rosemary with the bar."

Forensic examinations found Mrs Gill had been clothed during the fatal attack, with her underwear ripped from her body after she died.

Gill later admitted he attempted to have sex with his wife 20 minutes after her death, but was not successful.

Judge Ford said Gill had a history of domestic violence and had destroyed his career in the Army in the 1980s after attacking his then-girlfriend.

In 2000, he slapped Mrs Gill during an argument and in 2004, she required medical treatment after he headbutted her.

"Your actions have resulted in the loss of Rosemary's life and the ruining of your own," the judge added.

"You have inflicted incalculable suffering on your own children who have effectively been deprived of both parents.

"You have caused the greatest suffering to members of Rosemary's family. Her mother died in the knowledge that her daughter had been murdered."

Ten members of the jury returned to the court to watch the sentence being passed.

Speaking outside court, Detective Inspector Julie Mackay said: "Nirmal Gill is a possessive man who couldn't accept the breakdown of his marriage. He couldn't face the thought of Rosemary living an independent life without him and in a cold and calculated attack took her life away."

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