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A schoolboy who stabbed his ‘defenceless’ ex-girlfriend to death after she broke up with him was jailed for life today.
Thomas Griffiths had been recently dumped by ‘fun-loving’ A-Level student Ellie Gould when he attacked her in her family home in Calne, Wiltshire.
The day before she was stabbed to death with a kitchen knife, Ellie, 17, told friends Griffiths ‘hadn’t taken it well’ when she ended their four-month relationship.
Griffiths, now 18, brutally knifed Ellie in the neck on May 3, then tried to cover his tracks by arranging the scene to look like an accident.
He left her lying in a pool of blood on the kitchen floor, then fled the scene.
Bristol Crown Court heard how Ellie’s father discovered her body at their home four hours later “face down in a pool of blood, with the knife in her neck.”
Ellie, who’d broken up with Griffiths to concentrate on her exams at Hardenhuish School in Chippenham, died from stab wounds having been knifed 13 times in the neck.
Griffiths was today jailed for life - with a minimum term of 12 years and six months - for the brutal killing.
Following the murder, Griffiths returned to school and sought support from a matron as well as sending messages to Ellie’s friends to say he could not get hold of her.
He was collected from school from his mother, who later took him to a friend’s house in Chippenham.
Griffiths was arrested outside his friend’s home at 6pm and “lied repeatedly” to police.
Griffiths, then aged 17, pleaded guilty to a charge of murder during a hearing at Bristol Crown Court in August.
Judge Peter Blair QC, the Recorder of Bristol, had lifted reporting restrictions that prevented the media from identifying Griffiths at an earlier hearing.
Griffiths was jailed for life on Friday and was told he’ll serve a minimum of 12 years six months.
Mr Justice Garnham told him: “The pain and terror she must have suffered in her last moments, as your frenzied knife attack continued, is beyond imagining.
“Not able to face up to what you had done, you then attempted to cover up this dreadful crime.
“First, and most chillingly, you left Ellie on the floor with the knife embedded in her throat and her left hand around the handle of the knife.
“I have no doubt that you arranged the scene in order that it would appear to those who found Ellie that she had been killed, not by another person, but instead by her own hand or in some terrible accident.
“Indeed, that was what her father thought when he found her.
“There can be no more dreadful scene for any parent to contemplate than that which confronted Ellie’s father when he came home that day from work.
“He came into his kitchen at about 3pm to find his beloved daughter laying on the floor in a pool of her own blood, her neck and face cut about, and a kitchen knife embedded in her throat.”
The judge said Ellie was “entirely beyond saving” when her father discovered her body.”
The court heard on Friday how Griffiths was in ‘a state of denial’ after the killing.
Sasha Wass QC, defending Griffiths, told the court how Griffiths was a model student and had been made a prefect at his school shortly before Ellie’s murder.
Ms Wass said: “Tom, rather than acting as a master criminal, simply wanted to behave as if nothing has happened,” she said.
“Within three weeks he accepted what he had done.
“Both families have been devastated by what Thomas Griffiths did. No-one bears that burden more than Tom does.”
Ms Wass read a letter written to the court by Griffiths, in which he apologised for his actions.
He wrote: “I have truly let myself down and I hope one day I will be able to explain to myself and others why this happened.”
Wiltshire Police previously said Griffiths, of Derry Hill, Wiltshire, murdered Ellie in a violent attack.
Officers were able to quickly identify and arrest Griffiths after Ellie’s body was discovered.
The teenager initially denied having seen Ellie that day, or in the days before her death.
Ellie’s friends and family had packed into Bristol Crown Court on Friday ahead of the sentencing hearing, with some having to watch proceedings in an overflow room.
In a tribute issued after her death, Ellie’s family described her as “fun-loving and a joy to be around”.
They added: “We would like Ellie to be remembered as a kind, caring young lady with a wonderful, fun personality.”
Lisa Percy, headteacher of Hardenhuish School, said pupils and staff had been left “absolutely devastated” by the murder.