Families pay tribute to victims as jury finds Neil Langmead guilty

BARNSTAPLE builder Neil Langmead has been sentenced to a minimum of 30 years in prison after being found guilty of murdering his estranged wife and her best friend.

The a jury at Exeter Crown Court announced its verdict this afternoon (Thursday,) finding Langmead, 41, guilty of killing Debbie Langmead and Donna St John, both 35, in Fortmead Close, Barnstaple, in August 2010.

The victims, both mothers of two, were found stabbed to death in the burning house, the court heard.

Speaking after the verdict, Debbie's mother Caroline Hooper said there were no words powerful enough to describe the pain and anguish they felt at the cruel, evil way she was taken from them.

"She was a beautiful young woman, kind, loving and loved life.

"Debbie was an inspiration to us as a family, to her friends and especially to her children who were her world. She loved and adored them.

"The sadness we feel is that Debbie is no longer with us is, at times, almost too hard to bear. We would like to say a heartfelt thank you to everyone for their continued kindness and support throughout these difficult times."

Hazel Harding said he sister Donna had been "the most bubbly, kind-hearted person" who had been in the wrong place at the wrong time.

"She would light up any room when she entered with her happy outlook on life," she said.

"Her family will never recover from her death and there is now an empty space within the lives of her two young daughters, her twin brother, her sister, her father and extended family.

"All of the family would like to thank Mr Fitton QC, DI Mike West, DS Palmer and all of the police investigation team and family liaison for all of their hard work and commitment to obtaining justice for Donna."