THE paranoid and controlling boyfriend of a mother-of-four who was brutally killed in front of her children has been convicted of her murder.
Martial arts enthusiast Jason Bell, of Broxwood Way in Camden, north London, was convicted at the Old Bailey this week.
The court heard that the 42-year-old viciously attacked Nicole Hurley, 37, in her home on October 10, 2021 while her children were in the house.
Ms Hurley had been trying to remove herself from the controlling relationship prior to the attack, which was witnessed by two of her children.
Police were called to the house at around 1am that morning after local residents came to the aid of Ms Hurley and her children.
She was found with multiple stab wounds and signs of having been beaten and, despite the efforts of paramedics, was pronounced dead at the scene.
The court further heard that after murdering his partner Bell packed a bag and fled the house, taking all the phones there with him, so that her children could not call for help.
He was arrested a day later after making his way to a friend’s home, where he admitted he had killed Ms Hurley.
Bell went on to accuse his friend of having an affair with Ms Hurley and refused to let him leave the property.
In the morning Bell, armed with a knife, forced the man to leave the address with him in his vehicle.
Fearing for his life, the friend got out of the car while it was still moving and was treated at hospital for minor injuries.
On August 8, Bell was convicted of murdering Ms Hurley, whose family hail from Co. Kerry.
He was also convicted of false imprisonment and dangerous driving following the trial at the Old Bailey.
Speaking after the sentencing, the Metropolitan Police's Detective Chief Inspector Jim Eastwood said: “This was a frenzied, brutal attack on a defenceless woman while her four children were in the home, two of whom witnessed the murder.
“Nicole suffered a range of serious injuries including some to her forearms indicting that she tried to shield herself from the blows that Bell inflicted; at least two knives were used during this senseless attack.”
He added: “Nicole had been attempting to remove herself from the relationship with Bell.
“The relationship had been isolating and controlled by Bell who was demonstrating paranoia around unfounded concerns about her commitment to him.”
At the Old Bailey Bell’s defence rested heavily on him having lost control “due to Nicole’s behaviour”, a move which has been slammed as “abhorrent” by Det Ch Insp Eastwood this week.
“It is abhorrent that he has attempted to place the blame for his own horrific actions on Nicole and it is wholly right that he was convicted of her murder,” he said.
“Nicole’s death has had a tremendous impact on her children and wider family,” he added.
“Her local community continue to question why they lost a good friend in such a violent manner.
“My thoughts are very much with them all as they continue to come to terms with their loss.
“Nothing will bring Nicole back, but I hope that today’s conviction brings the family a sense that justice has been served.”
Bell will be sentenced at the Old Bailey on October 12.