Triple killer jailed for ‘merciless’ attack on ex

A killer with a history of violence towards women has been jailed for 26 years after admitting the murder of his ex-girlfriend.

Theodore Johnson murdered mother-of-four Angela Best, on 15 December 2016 at his flat in north London.

Ms Best, 51, was found dead in his living room, having been hit over the head with a claw hammer and throttled with her dressing gown belt.

The pair had broken up, and she’d started a new relationship, but had gone to help him with an appointment with the Jamaican embassy.

After he killed her, Johnson, 64, fell into the path of a train at Cheshunt station.

He survived, but was left wheelchair-bound, and his arms were severed.

Ms Best’s body was discovered by officers searching his flat as he was treated in hospital.

He has previous convictions for manslaughter, related to the deaths of his wife, and another former girlfriend.

In his sentencing, it was revealed that Johnson had kept his relationship with the grandmother a secret from authorities, and hadn’t told her about his past.

She discovered letters about it and confronted him.

:: Triple killer murdered ex-partner with hammer after she started new relationship

Prosecuting, Mark Heywood told the court Johnson had a violent history towards women.

In November 1981, he was convicted by a jury of killing his wife Yvonne Johnson. He hit her over the head with a vase before pushing her over the balcony of their ninth-floor flat in Wolverhampton.

In March 1993, he was convicted of killing his partner Yvonne Bennett, with whom he had a child.

He strangled her with a belt after he discovered she had an affair. He tried to hang himself after the death, and was found to be suffering from depression and a personality disorder.

He was handed a hospital order with restrictions by the Old Bailey. By mid-1995, he was given un-escorted leave to spend two days a week at a City and Guilds course on furniture restoration.

He met Ms Best there in 1996, but kept his past secret from her.

Johnson was let out by a tribunal in October 1997. The tribunal recorded that he was “well aware of the need for caution” for any future relationship, though he’d effectively been in one with Ms Best for more than a year.

He continued to deny being in a relationship, even up to 8 December, a week before he killed Ms Best.

The pair broke up in September 2016, with Ms Best describing herself as the “happiest” she had been, having found love with someone else. Johnson continued to message her daily.

She was there to help him on the morning of 15 December.

Mr Heywood said: “Soon afterwards he attacked her. That attack was brutal and merciless. He struck her repeatedly around the head even as she tried to protect her head with her hands. He then tied a dressing gown cord around her head and knotted it.

“He did it, the prosecution say, for a simple reason – because after all that time that had gone before she was no longer prepared to stay with him.”

A post-mortem examination found Ms Best suffered at least six blows to the head with the hammer and had been strangled.

In mitigation, his lawyer Annette Henry said: “He does not wish to be alive. He hates himself for what happened.”

She admitted the “self-reporting” of his relationship status was a flawed process.

Sentencing him to 26 years in prison, Judge Richard Marks QC said: “The attack by you on Angela Best was sustained, vicious and utterly brutal. She suffered an unimaginably terrible death.

“Such repeated offending, resulting in three separate court cases, must be almost unprecedented.”

Judge Marks added that his deception of his relationship must have gone on for 15 years.

Camden and Islington NHS Trust, which was responsible for his care in the community from 2004, is to compile a report for Ms Best’s family. It said his treatment complied with the conditions set out by the tribunal.

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Her son Raphael Best said: “My mother was the type of person who was always going out of her way to help people and unfortunately that was the reason she met her demise.”

Her sister described the impact of her loss as “immeasurable”.