BREAKING NEWS: ‘Devastated’ family of Gabrielle Chapman speak out following sentencing of Damien Fincher

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FOLLOWING the life sentence handed down to 46-year-old Damian Fincher at Birmingham Crown Court today (Friday) for the murder of Gabrielle Chapman - known as Gabi - her parents Roy and Anne Billingsley have issued the following statement

They said: “The loss of our daughter has left us devastated. Her natural exuberance touched the lives of all who met her. Unfortunately her inability to see bad in anyone led to her untimely death.However justice has decreed that he will spend the next years in prison and be unable to inflict the same devastation on any other family”.

At court today Fincher was sentenced to life imprisonment for the murder of his estranged wife, Gabi Chapman in Winfield Street, Rugby on July 31 last year.

Fincher was told he would have to serve a minimum of 25 years in jail before he could be considered for parole.

Fincher was previously been found guilty of her murder by the court in May 2011.

Hon Mrs Judge Nicola Davies OBE: “On July 31 last year Gabi Chapman returned to the place she had every reason to believe she would be safe. You had let yourself in and were waiting for her. What followed was a truly terrifying, calculated and brutal murder.

“You have deprived her parents of a much loved daughter and her brother of a much loved sister.”

Speaking after the sentencing Chief Inspector James Essex, said: “At his trial in May, the court heard evidence about Fincher’s actions on that fateful evening last July. He clearly travelled to Rugby with one intention in mind and that was to cause Gabi serious harm.

“He brutally attacked Gabi causing fatal injuries. It is with thanks to the prompt actions of a number of local Rugby residents that the emergency services were alerted and Police detained Fincher at the scene of the offence.

“I hope that Gabi’s family can take some comfort from the guilty verdict and today’s sentence. I know that Gabi’s death has left them and many other friends and colleagues devastated.

“Warwickshire Police were not aware of the domestic situation between the couple until this incident occurred.

“Domestic related violence in Warwickshire, a major cause of harm has been massively reduced in recent years as a result of effective police and partnership action.

“I would urge any person who is a victim of domestic violence or someone close to you who is being affected by domestic abuse, please don’t ignore it, report it. You can call your local Police Station or in an emergency dial 999.”

For more information visit the Warwickshire Against Domestic Abuse website, or call the dedicated helpline on 0800 408 1552 to be signposted to help and support.