Life for husband who decapitated his wife in a jealous rage

Dempsey Nibbs
Dempsey Nibbs
  • Dempsey Nibbs, 69, jailed for 21 years for killing wife Judith
  • Killer attacked her with iron bar, decapitated her, and flushed her head down toilet
  • Killing came as the couple’s relationship fell apart
  • Murderer, suffering with cancer, will die in jail
  • Nibbs told court he ‘thought his wife was a snake’ but jurors told he was not mentally ill

A jealous husband who decapitated his wife of 30 years and flushed her severed head down the toilet in an act of “grotesque savagery” will die behind bars.

Dempsey Nibbs, 69, became enraged after Meals On Wheels worker Judith Nibbs, 60, from Kirkham, taunted him as their relationship fell apart by saying she had been seeing other men.

Judith Nibbs

Judith Nibbs

The cancer-sufferer claimed he had acted in self defence, but a jury found Nibbs guilty of murder following an Old Bailey trial.

His lawyer Ian Henderson QC told the court that his client acknowledged that his ill health meant he would die in jail.

The Recorder of London, Nicholas Hilliard QC, jailed Nibbs for life with a minimum of 21 years.

He told him: “I’m sure you don’t regret your wife’s death save for its effect on your own comfort and well-being.”

If I’m not in Friday, I might be dead

Judith Nibbs

On the evening of April 10 2014, Nibbs attacked the mother of his two children at their flat in Hoxton, east London.

He knocked her out with an iron bar before cutting her head off, smashing it up with a mallet and disposing of the pieces in the lavatory.

Afterwards, the crane driver wrote a note to his 30-year-old son Kirk and called 999 to say police would find two bodies at the property.

A police officer broke down the door when he saw Mrs Nibbs’ headless body through the letterbox and bravely grappled a shotgun and knife from Nibbs as he attempted to stab himself.

Afterwards, Nibbs, who had been diagnosed with prostate cancer, said he killed his wife because he thought she was a “snake” but jurors heard he had shown no signs of mental illness.

Prosecutor Crispin Aylett QC had told the jury that the couple’s relationship soured in the spring of 2014 as Nibbs suspected his wife of having affairs.

Their son said that since his mother no longer had to care for his younger sister, Nibbs felt she had changed and was not “the housewife” she used to be.

When Nibbs had asked him to go through his mother’s computer, he found videos of her blowing kisses and saying “I love you” as well as explicit pictures which he stored in a file.

Nibbs searched his wife’s drawers and discovered bank transfer slips from their joint account to one in Morocco in the name of a close male friend and neighbour with whom she had gone on a road trip to Rabat in 2013.

An examination of her computer was to show that she went on to exchange sexually explicit messages on Skype with another man called Khalid in Morocco.

Mrs Nibbs had confided in her sister and a colleague at Meals On Wheels that her husband had threatened to kill her and grabbed her by the throat.

During a row on April 7, Mrs Nibbs, originally from Kirkham, had sarcastically said she had sex “eight times” when quizzed about affairs.

The next day, she predicted her own killing as she left work, with the words: “If I’m not in Friday, I might be dead.”

Nibbs, of the Charles Estate in Hoxton, told jurors he had not meant to kill his partner when he went to confront her over money taken from their bank account, which he took as “proof” of her infidelity.

He said he had only meant to “slap her around a bit” and it was only after she was dead that he cut her head off in anger because she “betrayed” him.

Judge Hilliard rejected Nibbs’s claim he only initially “tapped” his wife on the head with a metal bar to get her attention, and noted the victim’s tooth had been knocked out and swallowed with the root still attached during the attack.

Cutting her head off afterwards was an act of “grotesque savagery” in revenge for her perceived “treachery”, the judge said. Leaving chest exposed was intended to “humiliate her even in death”, he added.

Mrs Nibbs’ sister Frances described the mother-of-five as a “very kind and caring person” in a statement on behalf of the family.

They were all “shocked and devastated” by her murder, she said: “Whatever problems there were in her relationship, Judith did not deserve to die in such a callous and brutal way.”

Her son Kirk had been greatly affected by the trial and did not feel able to submit a victim impact statement, the court heard.