Thu, 08 Dec 2011
A Coventry woman and her partner have been given life sentences for murdering the father of her daughter over fears of losing custody rights.
Jason Bissell, 39, from Coventry, was struck over the head with a hammer, suffocated and left in a fishing lake.
Joanne Dawn Griffiths, 41, of Bridgeacre Gardens, was told she would serve at least 28 years by the judge at Birmingham Crown Court.
Peter Andrew Hood, 44, of Vernon's Lane in Nuneaton, was also jailed.
Hood was told he would serve at least 24 years. Warwickshire Police said his minimum tariff was lower than Griffiths's because he changed his plea to guilty on the first day of his trial on 6 October and gave evidence for the prosecution in her trial.
Mr Bissell's body was discovered at Lanny's Lagoon Fishery at Stretton-under-Fosse in October 2010. He had fathered a daughter with Griffiths, who was found guilty of his murder last month.
Det Ch Insp Pete Hill said he welcomed the sentences handed out considering the "premeditated" nature of the crime.
Speaking outside the court he said: "The pathologist said that Jason had been struck nine or 10 times with a hammer.
"If that wasn't bad enough he was then bound with gaffer tape around his nose and mouth.
"He was dragged to the pond and weighted down with a rock and then they cleaned up after themselves.
"I'm pleased with the result for the family because the family has shown dignity throughout the trial.
"They've had to listen to some pretty horrific things as to how Jason died.
"I just hope it may be possible for them to start rebuilding their lives."
In a previous statement, Mr Bissell's family said: "Jason was a bright and loving dad, son brother and friend.
"His life was taken in an unbelievable way for trying to do what he knew was right."
Click to view the profile for Gareth Evans QC - Prosecuting