Maths graduate fuelled by jealousy jailed for life for murdering his gifted

A maths graduate, who stabbed his “prodigiously gifted” girlfriend to death after she ended their three-year relationship, has been jailed for life.Joe Atkinson, 25, was “fuelled with jealousy” when he attacked Poppy Devey Waterhouse, 24, at their flat in Leeds in December last year.Poppy, who was a gifted mathematician, had ended their relationship weeks earlier and had been planning to move out of their flat.Leeds Crown Court heard on Friday how, in the early hours of December 14 last year, he burst into the flat they still shared on Richmond Hill in the city and used a kitchen knife to inflict more than 100 separate injuries all over her body.Forensic evidence showed that Poppy bravely tried to fight off her attacker, only to succumb to her injuries in the blood-stained hallway of her home. The Honourable Mr Justice Lavender told Atkinson: “Poppy Devey Waterhouse was a young woman with so much going for her.”She had earned a first class honours degree and was excelling in her chosen career. She had so many opportunities in her life, but you brought an end to that.”You put an end to it, and brought misery to the lives of her loved ones.”Claire Harris, from the CPS, said: “Poppy was bright and beautiful, with her whole future ahead of her. Atkinson cruelly and horrifically extinguished this promise.“After attacking Poppy in a vicious frenzy, Atkinson attempted to clean the scene and dispose of his clothes, only contacting the emergency services hours later. Atkinson initially claimed that he was acting in self-defence.  This was a wicked, cowardly and self-serving lie.“Today he is beginning a life sentence with a minimum term of 16 years and two months. I hope this sentence is of some comfort to Poppy’s grieving family and friends. Our thoughts remain with them.” “I now live my life with a split-screen, on one half I can see the now, and on the other half that horrific scene.” The pair had split up in October and were both seeing other people when Atkinson murdered her.The court heard that, a month before the “savage and brutal” attack, Atkinson had punched Miss Devey Waterhouse’s new boyfriend.On the night of the attack he had spent the evening at a Christmas party while she had stayed at home on the phone to her new boyfriend. After returning home, fuelled by jealousy, he burst into the flat and repeatedly stabbed her.Atkinson had initially denied murder, but changed his plea last week.Jason Pitter, prosecuting, said: “Poppy Devey Waterhouse was a prodigiously talented mathematician, who was described as brilliant and beautiful who, at the age of 24, had her whole life ahead of her.”It was a life cruelly taken away from her just before Christmas last year, because this defendant realised he was not going to be a part of this future.”As Poppy’s heartbroken family sat sobbing in the court, the prosecutor said: “He had armed himself with a kitchen knife and murdered Poppy in an unprovoked attack fuelled by jealousy.”In a powerful victim impact statement that was read out in court, Miss Devey Waterhouse’s mother, Julie Devey, said: “As a parent, my basic duty is to make sure that I keep my children safe. I failed, and I have to carry that failure with me at all times, wherever I go, whoever I am with, whatever I am doing.”She added: “I kept scraping my hands across the floorboards where she had been left screaming and dying.”I just wanted to scoop her up and save her. Poppy was a 'prodigiously talented mathematician' Joe Atkinson Joe Atkinson Poppy was a ‘prodigiously talented mathematician’ Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *