Builder ‘faked’ double murder scene

Court hears how suspect Neil Langmead ‘interfered’ with the bodies of wife and friend

JILTED builder Neil Langmead faked a bloodied double murder scene to make it look like his estranged wife was the killer, a jury heard yesterday (Thursday).

The 40-year-old is alleged to have planted a knife in the left hand of his wife Debbie, 35, to make it look as though she was responsible for the double deaths.

Exeter Crown Court also heard he also interfered with the bodies of his right-handed wife and her close friend Donna St John, who was also stabbed to death.

Mr Langmead, 40, of Convent Close, Barnstaple, is in court accused of the murder of both women, before setting fire to Mrs Langmead’s home at Ford Mead Close in Barnstaple, in the early hours of August 22 last year. He denies arson and two counts of murder.

The prosecution say he committed the brutal murders just days after police handed him a harassment notice to stay away from mum-of-two Debbie.

Prosecutor Michael Fitton QC outlined the final part of the Crown’s case and said that Donna, also 35, suffered twelve cuts and stab wounds including one fatal wound.

Most Read

He said Debbie suffered two fatal injuries as well as others which “could easily have proved fatal”.

The Crown say three kitchen knives were used in the fatal attacks before Mr Langmead set fire to the house and tried to hang himself from a loft hatch.

Firemen dealing with the fire discovered the women’s bodies side by side in the small kitchen and then found Mr Langmead upstairs unconscious below the loft hatch with a broken dressing gown ligature on the floor next to him.

Mr Fitton told the jury that both women’s bodies had been interfered with so that they were lying on their backs when they were found.

He said Donna’s top was open and bra pulled down – and Debbie’s jeans and underwear had been pulled off and she was half naked when found in the heavily bloodstained kitchen – something which may have happened after they were killed.

Mr Fitton said Mr Langmead had few injuries apart from marks around his throat and neck where he had tried to hang himself and stab wounds to his abdomen which, the prosecutor claimed, he had deliberately inflicted on himself.

The court heard frightened Debbie Langmead left the “controlling” builder for a sixth time and began divorce proceedings but he repeatedly begged her to return.

The jury has been told that there was no attempt to make any 999 calls from the scene of the 3am killings.

Mr Langmead claims that the woman had a huge row and Mrs Langmead killed her friend before she was fatally injured while her husband tried to protect her friend and himself.

The trial continues.

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter