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Last Updated: Monday, 24 October 2005, 12:53 GMT 13:53 UK
Man jailed for murdering family
Christopher Adams
Christopher Adams: "Brutal attack"
A man has been jailed for life for beating his fiancée to death with a cricket bat and suffocating his baby with a plastic bag in Cornwall.

The bodies of Claire Ford, 19, and 18-month-old Charlotte Adams were found in a cottage near Wadebridge in April.

The paramedic who found them was Claire Ford's father, Truro Crown Court heard.

Bar manager Christopher Adams, 26, from St Cleer, pleaded guilty to the murders. Judge Graham Cottle told Adams he would serve at least 20 years.

Adams and Ms Ford were visiting the home of his parents when the murders happened.

The bodies were found in Trewinnick Cottage on 26 April after what police called a "brutal attack".

This is not what we would call justice. Our life sentence has no tariff
Mike Ford
Ambulance driver Mike Ford was called to the cottage. It was only as he pulled up outside that he realised it was the house of the parents of his daughter's fiancée, before seeing the bodies of his daughter and granddaughter.

At the time police said they believed Adams made a 999 call alerting them to the killings before driving off in a silver Peugeot 306 convertible.

Trainee pub manager Adams, of the Market Inn, St Cleer, near Liskeard, went on the run for a number of days and was eventually arrested in Ringwood, Hampshire, on 3 May. He had pleaded guilty to the murders earlier this month.

He had beaten both of them with a cricket bat and suffocated baby Charlotte with a plastic bag which was taped around her neck.

Adams told police in an interview that he had got up at about 0615 BST to feed Charlotte before waking Miss Ford.

Claire Ford, 19, and 18-month-old Charlotte Adams, known as Charlie
Claire Ford and Charlotte
The defendant told officers: "I suppose we had a falling-out. We have had falling-outs before - nothing major, nothing violent - about the hours I work, things like that.

"Then Claire got up. I pushed her back down. My hand came round, the bat was there. I just swung it round to hit her with it - I don't know why I did it. I did it again."

As the judge sentenced him to life, Adams stood with his head bowed and was visibly shaking.

Judge Cottle told him: "The devastation you brought upon the people who loved Claire and Charlotte - and on your own family - is quite incalculable".

Speaking after the sentence was passed, Mr Ford said: "We saw Christopher Adams receive a minimum sentence of 20 years in prison - just 10 years for each of our girls' lives. This is not what we would call justice.

"Our life sentence has no tariff. My family, friends, colleagues and myself will never be free of this grief for as long as we live."

DI Karl Fellows of Devon and Cornwall Police said: "This was one of the most devastating crimes anyone could come across and it has been an emotionally difficult time for everyone involved.

"We still don't have an explanation of why Christopher Adams did what he did and only he can tell us."


SEE ALSO:
Guilty plea in family murder case
03 Oct 05 |  Cornwall


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