Years of quiet beatings

KILLER Andrew Evans beat his wife to death and used such violence that when he forced her pullover over her head, the pattern was left on her neck, probably due to a headlock. Last week Norwich Crown Court heard a history of a violent marriage with the b

KILLER Andrew Evans beat his wife to death and used such violence that when he forced her pullover over her head, the pattern was left on her neck, probably due to a headlock.

Last week Norwich Crown Court heard a history of a violent marriage with the beatings becoming worse in the final years. The police had been called to the Evans's home 70 times since 1999. After a four-day trial for murder, Evans, 49, changed his plea to guilty.

It was usually wife Leonie who called the police, the officer leading the murder investigation, Detective Chief Inspector Jim Bainbridge told The Hunts Post. "Sometimes she had taken an overdose, sometimes she was injured, sometimes, her husband wasn't there."

Leonie, 46, had phoned her father the night before she died to say she "could not take any more". He told the court she was upset and crying.

Leonard Clark said: "Her husband was hitting her. He was not hitting her around the face any more. He was punching her in the stomach."

The court heard Evans, a postman, would hit her for not going to bed early with him when he was working shifts.

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Leonie had phoned her father every day. Her family knew she was being beaten up by her husband but for the last five years of her life she would not go to family occasions, they mostly spoke to her over the phone.

Her brother Frazer Clark told The Hunts Post that when he had seen her, it was clear that Leonie had become "a shell of her former self" and also that she had seizures. "Which was not surprising because she was being hit on the head."

The neighbours would also have been suspicious. The court heard that the last person outside her home to see Mrs Evans alive was a shopkeeper, who had noticed her having black eyes and bruising for two years. That day, the day that was to be her last, she wanted to buy a bottle of vodka at 11 in the morning but she had no money and was refused credit. She went back at 6pm, seeming happy and normal and said she was cooking that night. She bought a bottle of vodka and another of red wine.

At 10pm, neighbours heard sounds from the Evans household. One told the court: "It was a moan, not a high pitched moan. It lasted a couple of seconds. It was from the lady which I would clearly recognise." His girlfriend said: "It was a loud scream or groan".

The court heard that Leonie had been known by the Huntingdon mental health authorities since 1998. She had been described as having a 'borderline personality disorder'.

She had difficulties in her life going back into her childhood. Leonie was the second oldest of seven children. When she was nine, in 1968, the family moved from Barnet near London to Australia. By the time she was 12, she was a troubled youngster, who her brother Frazer said was rebelling. Something devastating had happened to her. Frazer believes it had something to do with her going horse riding

Frazer was only 10 at the time but he remembers that Leonie asked to be placed in care. "My parents were distraught about it. It was never brought up in conversation. I never found out what had happened to Leonie.

"She was living about 20 miles away from us. I used to go to see her in the foster home because we were always close. She seemed more than happy where she was."

The family stayed in Australia for about eight years, then the family returned to England and Leonie followed a year later.

Leonie did not apparently have a drink problem until her late 20s, her brother said, and Evans had not been the first man to hit her. "She had a rough time with other guys," Frazer said.

Leonie and Andrew Evans moved to St Neots in the 1990s. When she died, the couple had been married for 10 years and had known each other for five years before that. They had no children. He worked as a postman in Bedford, she had various retail and clerical jobs, including payroll clerk.

They married in St Mary's Church in Eaton Socon in 1996. There are happy photographs like the one above but within 10 years, the smiling groom had brutally murdered the bride.

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