Drunk woman who murdered neighbour with ash tray and scissors is jailed for life

Drunk woman who murdered neighbour with ash tray and scissors is jailed for life


A churchgoer who murdered her neighbour in an "unprovoked attack" while drunk has been jailed.

Carol Campling, 39, used a smashed ash tray, knife and pair of scissors to kill neighbour Mark Smith, 48 in February last year.

After the brutal murder, Campling walked into a police station and claimed she had found his body at his home in Chingford, east London.

Campling was convicted of murder and jailed for 17 years on Friday.

The Old Bailey heard Mr Smith and his killer had been praying together at the True Life Baptist church the night before she murdered him.

Campling walked into Chingford police station on February 15, 2018 to say she had found Mr Smith's body at his home.

A post-mortem gave the cause of death as multiple injuries but Campling said she had nothing to do with it and instead blamed 64-year-old Robert Parsons, who also stood trial accused of Mr Smith's murder but was cleared.

The court heard Campling sought to destroy evidence after murdering Mr Smith, including blood stained socks by putting them into a bin.

Other items of blood soaked clothing were also discovered with her DNA that were discovered at the crime scene.

Prosecutor Danny Robinson told the court Mr Smith leaves behind his 17-year-old daughter Charlotte.

He said: "This was an unprovoked attack, it was a prolonged attack. It was carried out while under the influence of alcohol."

"[Mr Smith] was a gentle and kind man by all accounts," he added.

"It is a very great shame that he won't be there for her young adult life."

Defence counsel Sarah Elliot read a letter from Campling, who blamed the killing on an "alcohol blackout".

The letter read: "I wish with all my heart I could turn the clock back."

Campling described the killing as: "The result of a complete alcoholic blackout in which I accept I must have attacked Mark.

"I had actually been to the True Life Baptist church the night before and we were encouraging each other."

The court heard that Campling and Mr Smith had struggled with alcohol problems throughout their lives, although the latter was "hopeful that he would be able to turn his life around".

It was also said Campling has a history of violence including multiple offences for assaulting police officers and common assault.

Judge John Dodd told the court Mr Smith could have been saved if Campling called 999.

He said: "It is obvious, isn't it, she simply left him to die.

"This poor chap, if somebody had called 999, might have survived. She walked away from him and I personally find that to be significant."

Detective Inspector John Marriott, the officer leading the investigation, said: "Our investigation established that Campling had launched a vicious attack on Mark, using broken bottles, scissors and an ashtray before leaving him to die.

"She then walked to a police station claiming to have 'found' the body, and has subsequently failed to take responsibility for her actions.

"This is an awful case in which drug use and consumption of extremely excessive quantities of alcohol by Campling and the victim were a significant factor.

"I want to express my sympathies to Mark's family. I would also urge anyone who is drinking excessively or taking drugs – in particular where those activities lead to loss of control or violence – to seek professional help."

Campling, of Warren Road, Chingford, denied but was convicted of murder.

She was given a life sentence with a minimum sentence of 17 years behind bars.

Parsons was acquitted of murder.

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