Page last updated at 14:04 GMT, Monday, 14 December 2009

Double murderer given whole life sentence

Maria Stubbings
Maria Stubbings was found dead in a bathroom at her home

A man who murdered his former partner less than a year after being released from jail for killing another woman has been given a whole life jail term.

Marc Chivers, 42, of Chelmsford, Essex, pleaded guilty to killing Maria Stubbings at her home last December.

He had returned to the UK in 2008 after serving 15 years for killing a former girlfriend in Germany.

Chelmsford Crown Court heard he began seeing Ms Stubbings soon after. Her body was found on 19 December 2008.

The court heard Chivers attacked Ms Stubbings in July 2008 and was given a four-month jail term for battery.

Because he had been held on remand he was released almost immediately and resumed contact with her, the court heard.

Maria Stubbings had called the police, saying she was scared for her life

On 11 December Ms Stubbings complained to police that Chivers had burgled her home.

Police were continuing their investigations when they discovered her body at her home in Chelmsford on 19 December.

On 12 December police had twice contacted Ms Stubbings in an attempt to take statements, the court heard.

The judge said that on 13 December Ms Stubbings decided she did not want to pursue her burglary complaint but police had remained concerned.

On 17 December Chivers was seen in a car near Chelmsford and on 18 December police called at Ms Stubbings' home and found Chivers there, the court heard.

Marc Chivers
Marc Chivers was sentenced to a whole life term

Chivers told officers she had gone away and the next day police again went to Ms Stubbings' home and found Chivers there.

They then found Ms Stubbings' body hidden under a pile of clothes in a bathroom.

The Independent Police Complaints Commission has investigated the police's dealings with Ms Stubbings and said its report was yet to be completed.

"We have closely examined police logs and records in the period prior to Maria's murder, taken a number of witness statements, and conducted interviews with several police officers," an IPCC spokesman said.

Chivers was born and raised in Germany and met his first victim, Sabine Rappold, in 1986, the court heard.

In 1992 he strangled her with a rope before burying her body in a shallow grave and going on the run. He was arrested three months later.

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