Man's chilling call after brutally stabbing girlfriend 50 times

·4-min read

A 38-year-old man is going to prison for stabbing his partner to death and enlisting his 63-year-old mother to help him conceal his crime.

On July 12, 2020, Ian Bennett called police to report he had found his 38-year-old partner, mother of two Kerry Woolley, with "catastrophic" wounds to her neck at her apartment in western-central England.

But just hours before Bennett made the call, he was the one to brutally murder Ms Woolley and had his mother drive him to a canal bridge where he threw in at least one of the two knives he used.

According to West Midlands Police, Bennett claimed he left Ms Woolley's apartment in the early hours of the morning of July 12 and once he left, he was unable to get in contact with her.

Kerry Woolley is pictured with a beer.
Kerry Woolley was murdered last year by her partner. Source: West Midland Police

Despite no weapon being located, Bennett was arrested on suspicion of murder.

Ms Woolley and Bennett had only known each other for a few weeks at the time of her murder and her family's victim impact statement said she was a "beautiful, bubbly lady who had a heart of gold".

"Ian Bennett unleashed a vicious and brutal attack on Kerry Woolley, a woman he had only been in a relationship with for a matter of a few short weeks," Detective Sergeant Rory Juss, from the Force Criminal Investigation Department (FCID), said.

"He then chose to blatantly lie about what had happened but quickly became unstuck as the evidence mounted up against him."

A West Midlands Police mugshot of Ian Bennett.
Ian Bennett stabbed his partner, Ms Woolley, to death. Source: West Midland Police

Text messages point to couple's 'falling out'

Officers combed through text messages between Ms Woolley and Bennett, and it appeared the two had a falling out just days before the murder.

"Bennett appeared to be angry, accusing Ms Woolley of cheating on him, although this was groundless, and that she was also messaging a former partner," police said in a statement.

"He even went so far as to research online the 'best way to get revenge on a woman'."

Police said Ms Woolley was regularly on her phone into the early hours of the morning, but about 11.30pm on July 11 both her phone and Bennett's phone went "silent".

At 3.54am, Bennett tried calling Ms Woolley "whilst knowing full-well that she was in fact already dead", police noted.

Throughout the following day he continued trying to message and call Ms Woolley.

Mobile phone data and dashboard camera footage from Bennett's mother Lynda's car indicated the vehicle left her home, where he also lived, and took a 40-minute round trip in the Solihull area.

Phone data confirmed Ms Bennett was the driver.

CCTV footage shows Ian Bennett walking with a plastic bag in his right hand.
Ian Bennett was captured on CCTV footage twice while he and his mother took a 40-minute car trip. Source: West Midland Police

Police said there were two stops during the journey which were significant.

The first was at Damson Lane, where CCTV footage showed Bennett throwing a bundle into the canal, where police later found a bent blade during their search.

The second was at Prospect Lane, where CCTV footage again showed Mr Bennett, this time carrying a plastic bag into parkland and returning without a bag.

Police found a bag filled with blood-stained women's jogging bottoms and a pair of oven gloves in the park.

Ms Woolley's DNA was found on both the knife and the items found in the plastic bag.

A forensic examination found Ms Woolley had suffered more than 50 stab wounds, most of which were on her neck.

Lynda Bennett is pictured.
Bennett's mother Lynda was implicated in the crime. Source: West Midlands Police

Ian Bennett sentenced to life

Bennett denied he committed the murder, but was found guilty at Birmingham Crown Court and was sentenced to life, with a minimum of 25 years in prison.

Lynda denied helping her son and perverting the course of justice, but she was convicted and jailed for three years.

"Neither Ian Bennett nor his mother Lynda have once shown any remorse for their part in this terrible crime and it was pleasing to see that the evidence we were able to put before the jury enabled them to see through their lies," Det Sgt Juss said.

Mother of two Kerry Woolley is pictured in two photos.
Ms Woolley was a mother of two and was remembered as a 'beautiful, bubbly' woman. Source: West Midlands Police

"Our thoughts have always been with Kerry's family, and we hope that Bennett's conviction, and also that of his mother, can now bring them some comfort."

In a statement, Ms Woolley's family said they could never forgive Bennett for her murder.

“We as a family never gave up hope that Kerry would turn her life around," they said in a police release. 

"We continued to support her throughout but Ian Bennett has taken that chance away and we will never forgive him for that.”

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