Mon, 20 Jun 2011
A fan of the American crime series CSI who used criminal techniques learned from the programme to murder his estranged wife has been jailed for 25 years.
But his evil plot was foiled when neighbours and passers-by heard the 42-year-old midwife screaming as her husband stabbed her.
In a desperate attempt to fool police, Fincher, 45, then stabbed himself in the stomach.
Birmingham Crown Court was told he had waited for his wife with a knife he had previously hidden in a drawer before stabbing her 20 times in the chest, puncturing her aorta and a lung.
After his arrest, he claimed that he had taken cocaine, diazepam and drunk half a bottle of wine and blacked out before the incident.
But the jury found him guilty of murder and friends and family of Miss Chapman cheered as Fincher was told he would have to serve a minimum of 25 years in jail before he could be considered for parole.
He showed no remorse in court and interrupted the sentencing to make an abusive remark about his wife. As he was led away, he turned to face Miss Chapman’s sobbing family and shouted further abuse.
It was not the first time Fincher had been in court over a killing.
He was convicted in 1993 at Birmingham Crown Court of manslaughter for acting as a driver to a gunman who shot another man dead. He had been sentenced to six years’ imprisonment.
Fincher and Miss Chapman had met in 2005 and married, but their relationship ran into trouble because of his jealousy.
He repeatedly checked his wife’s mobile phone and laptop to see who she was in touch with, the court heard.
They eventually split when she was unable to conceive and an IVF attempt failed. She then, she started seeing another man.
Sentencing, Mrs Justice Nicola Davies said: ‘On July 31, 2010, your estranged wife returned to the place where she believed she would be safe. Unbeknown to her, you had let yourself in and were waiting for her.
‘You attempted to recreate the scene of a burglary, but your plan began to go wrong when, as a result of your ferocious attack on Gabi, she began to scream.
‘When the police arrived, you continued your elaborate charade, which even included stabbing yourself in the stomach at one point.’
She added: ‘Because you were unable or unwilling to allow Gabi to get on with her life, you deprived her parents of a much-loved daughter, her brother of a much-loved sister, and her friends of a much-loved companion.’