Ex-policeman jailed for wife murder

Richmond and Twickenham Times: Ivan Esack stabbed his estranged wife Natalie to death at her high street hair salon Ivan Esack stabbed his estranged wife Natalie to death at her high street hair salon

A controlling former policeman found guilty of murdering his estranged wife at her high street hair salon has been sentenced to life in jail with a minimum term of 28 years.

A judge said Ivan Esack planned the killing "to the minute" before he knifed Natalie Esack, 33, up to 11 times because he could not cope with her being with someone else.

The 8in (20cm) blade bent and the tip broke off under the ferocity of the attack at Esack Hair and Beauty in High Street, Ashford, Kent, on April 30 last year.

Following the stabbing, Esack, 38, turned to his estranged wife's colleague Chelsea Ford, then 17, and said: "She deserved it, the bitch."

In the period before the killing, he told Mrs Esack she was a "dead woman walking" and added: "Tick tock, tick tock."

At Maidstone Crown Court on Friday, the ex-Kent Police detective constable turned aspiring football agent, of Rosewood Drive, Ashford, was found guilty of murder following a three-week trial.

Friends and relatives of Mrs Esack broke into applause after Judge Charles Byers said he would not be freed until authorities had judged him fit for release after at least 28 years behind bars.

The judge said Esack had "cut down and killed" his estranged wife while she was in the prime of her life, and had shown no remorse for his actions.

Judge Byers told him: "Not only did you take her precious life but in doing so you devastated the lives of so many around her. You had previously made her life a misery, subjecting her to repeated physical and verbal abuse." The judge said Mrs Esack decided to leave her husband after considerable threats. He said: "You are a controlling man and the only way that you could continue to control her life was to take it from her."

After Esack's conviction on Friday, questions were asked about whether police missed opportunities to protect Mrs Esack from him. It emerged she had spoken to police four times about Esack, from 2009 to just a month before she was murdered. According to police, Mrs Esack was unwilling to support a prosecution, and failed to return phone calls and attend meetings because she did not want to harm his prospects. No referral was made to the police watchdog about the previous contact between the force and Mrs Esack and no disciplinary issues were found. The case is now the subject of an independently chaired, multi-agency review which will report next month.

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