Jonathan James Frazer Campbell was sentenced him to life in prison for murder, to serve a minimum term of 18 years, before eligibility for parole
Campbell on Dec. 1, brutally murdered his partner before bathing her body, packing his bags, buying liquor and booking into a hotel with another woman, according to court docs
Campbell, 37, pled guilty to murder after his “drunken, ferocious, sustained, and merciless assault” on Helen Bannister, 48, his partner of five years in Swansea, Wales, that led to her death
At sentencing, Judge Thomas excoriated Campbell for his lack of ‘basic humanity’
Leaving his partner dying on the sofa in their house to go buy wine from a local shop, then spending the evening drinking and smoking cannabis with a female friend demonstrated his “callousness and self-interest”, the judge said
A Court in Swansea, Wales, Monday heard that a man on trial for domestic homicide, subjected his partner of several years to a brutal assault at their home in Wales, packed up his belongings and left the home for a hotel.
Prosecutors said that after he assaulted Helen Bannister, battering her into a state of unconsciousness, Jonathan James Frazer Campbell, stripped Bannister, 48, and put her in the bath to wash the blood away rather than immediately call the help line. The pair had been in a relationship for five years.
Campbell, 37, then left the mortally injured woman on the sofa in the house, wrote a note apologizing for what he had done, packed his bags, and walked to the corner shop to buy alcohol. Eventually Campbell call did call for an ambulance, telling the operator his partner was “outers” on the sofa
Bannister was subsequently air lifted to hospital but the mum-of-two succumbed to her injuries’.
During his sentencing hearing at the Swansea Crown Court, the judge reminded Campbell that he had carried out a “drunken, ferocious, sustained, and merciless assault” on his partner of five years.
According to the court documents Campbell attacked Bannister on December 1 last year at the house they shared in the Mayhill area of Swansea, Wales.
The prosecutor, Christopher Clee, told the court that at around 4.30pm the defendant rang police emergency line and told the operator he had hit his partner and she was, in his words, “outers” on the sofa.
Responding EMTs found Bannister unresponsive on the sofa, with signs that she had suffered “significant” trauma, and she was airlifted to hospital.
Although he made the call, Campbell, however, was not present when the paramedics arrived.
Apparently after the assault on his partner, he had in fact gone to the local liquor shop and bought himself two bottles of wine before going into town to meet a friend by a name of Paula Saunders, and then booking a room for them at a Premier Inn hotel. The pair spent the evening walking around the city center and marina area drinking alcohol and smoking cannabis before Campbell was taken into custody just before 11.30pm. The suspect at this point told the arresting officers: “I done what I done, so I will deal with it.”
In a subsequent police interview, while admitting to assaulting Bannister, Campbell claimed after he “snapped” after discovering photographs on her phone suggesting she had been cheating.
“I didn’t mean to take it that far. I love her. Everything just got out of hand,” he told investigators.
After head butting the victim twice he said, he then tried to revive the unconscious woman by removing her clothes and putting her in the bath tub. When that didn’t work he said he put her on the sofa, left a note apologizing to her, and packed his bags and left, Campbell said.
The police interview happened as who suffered “devastating brain injuries,” was fighting for her life in the University Hospital of Wales in Cardiff. She never regained consciousness until she died in hospital, six days later.
The autopsy revealed she suffered swelling on the brain, a fractured bone in her throat, fractured ribs, a collapsed lung, and facial trauma.
The police forensics team found blood splatters on the range and sink in the kitchen in the home, suggesting that the victim had been at a low level – possibly laying on the floor – when she had been struck multiple times into areas of her body already wet with blood. The forensics findings were not consistent with the defendant’s admission of just delivering two head butts.
Victim impact statements delivered on behalf of the deceased’s children by their attorney, Carina Hughes, described Helen Bannister as a strong, loving woman who had been full of life. The daughters spoke about the hurt of losing their mother, and how their lives had fallen apart following the death.
Their mother had been almost unrecognizable as she lay in her hospital bed due to the severity of the head trauma she suffered at the hands of the man who was supposed to love her – one of the daughters added: “If this could happen to my mother, it could happen to any one.”
Campbell previously pled guilty to murder. At the sentencing hearing, the court heard of his prior convictions for assaults on Bannister and another previous partner. Both times he choked the victim victims. At the time he murdered Bannister he was on probation for assaulting an emergency worker, one of a number of assaults on law enforcement officers on his record.
Pleading for leniency, defense counsel Allison Summers, told the court Bannister’s death was unintentional. That though the defendant’s actions may have been “misconceived, very strange and unattractive behavior”, they were more indicative of a drunken and panicked man than of any concerted attempted to hide or destroy evidence.
You put the victim in the bath tub to try to wash away the blood to “give yourself more options”. To worsen the situation, after writing the note you left her “unconscious, alone, without help, and dying” on the sofa.’ , Judge Thomas told Campbell at sentencing.
The judge noted that before calling for help for the stricken woman – something he described as “basic humanity” – Campbell had had gone to buy alcohol before arranging to meet another woman, behavior which demonstrated his “callousness and self-interest”.
The judge said the sentence for the murder should be a life term, and the job for the court was to determine how long the defendant must serve behind bars before he can be considered for release.
As part of his plea arrangement, the defendant received a 10 per cent reduction in his sentence the judge sentenced him to life in prison for murder, to serve a minimum term of 18 years, before he will be eligible for parole.