TWO women, who viciously beat another woman to death in May over a necklace, have been sentenced to 52 years behind bars.
Justine Wainwright (aka Bridget O’Keefe), 58, and Penelope Brownlie, 45, both of Britannia Close in Barnsley, England were convicted of murder on Friday following a two-and-a-half week trial at Sheffield Crown Court.
They were sentenced to 26 years each.
Detective Inspector Mark Oughton, of South Yorkshire Police, described the murder of Clare Louise Smith, 42, as ‘sickening’.
“The attack was motivated by the suspicion that Ms Smith had some knowledge of a reported stolen necklace, which she denied,” said DI Oughton.
“The pair used extreme levels of violence to try to extract information from Ms Smith, which is sickening.”
Ms Smith’s body was found by members of the public on land just off Union Street in Barnsley on the morning of Saturday, May 19 this year.
She had been violently beaten and left with numerous injuries following a sustained attack.
“When we found Miss Smith’s body, it was clear that she had suffered a severe and sustained physical attack,” said DI Oughton.
“Through comprehensive detective work, Brownlie and Wainwright were soon identified as suspects and subsequently arrested.”
He added: “She was killed because of the questions she could not answer.
“After murdering her, they unceremoniously dumped her body yards from their flat and then went about cleaning the address and disposing of evidence.
“The dedicated investigation team worked meticulously to piece together the last movements of Ms Smith and those of the defendants through extensive CCTV and witness enquiries.
“Detailed forensic work was pivotal in these convictions.”
During the trial, the defendants claimed that some of Ms Smith’s injuries had been self-inflicted.
They also said that after Ms Smith left their address, she was attacked and killed by another unknown person.
“I am pleased the jury saw through this fabrication of lies,” said DI Oughton.
“I hope that knowing they are now behind bars for a significant length of time offers some condolence to Ms Smith’s friends and family.”