Page last updated at 15:06 GMT, Monday, 11 May 2009 16:06 UK

Double murderer jailed for life

Graham Cox
The court heard Cox subjected his wife to domestic violence

A 57-year-old Blackpool man has been jailed for life for murdering his estranged wife and her boyfriend.

Graham Cox, who admitted stabbing Helen Cox, 40, and Thomas McLoughlin, 60, in December 2008, slit his wife's throat, and said: "I can't share you".

Preston Crown Court heard that Cox, 57, was "obsessively jealous" and hid in a cupboard in his wife's flat to spy on her and Mr McLoughlin.

He was told he would serve at least 28 years before he could apply for parole.

'Cold-blooded'

Judge Anthony Russell QC, Recorder of Preston, said: "This was nothing less than two brutal, ruthless, cold-blooded murders."

Cox stabbed Mr McLoughlin 24 times and his wife 15 times with a 15in knife at a flat in Central Drive, Blackpool.

Paul Reid, prosecuting, said: "On December 22 last year, Cox saw the couple leave their flat to go to the pub and used a spare key to let himself in, armed with the knife.

"He hid in a cupboard listening to their conversation then bound up and gagged his wife before murdering Mr McLoughlin after he returned from visiting a late-night garage shop."

Cox did not only take the life of Helen, but that of Tom McLoughlin, who was just in the wrong place at the wrong time
Helen Cox's family

The mother-of-five listened as her partner returned to be stabbed by Cox with the chef's knife.

The court heard that he then showed her the body, then told her: "I can't lose you and I can't share you," as he held the knife to her throat.

"You can't do that," his estranged wife said, adding: "You love me too much."

Cox, who had subjected his wife to years of domestic violence, then plunged the knife into the side of her throat so it came out the other side. He then told her to go to sleep and kissed and stroked her hair.

He pleaded guilty to both murders and was told he would have to serve at least two life sentences.

'Untimely death'

Outside court, Mrs Cox's daughter Jessica Pitt and sister Sue Whitehouse released a joint statement.

They said: "Helen's family are still deeply shocked over the way in which she met her violent and untimely death.

Thomas McLoughlin
Thomas McLoughlin had 15 siblings and two daughters

"We are all struggling to come to terms with the events over the past six months, Cox did not only take the life of Helen, but that of Tom McLoughlin, who was just in the wrong place at the wrong time.

"Helen was a dearly-loved mum, sister and friend to many, and we wish now to be allowed to grieve in peace in an attempt to rebuild our lives."

Mr McLoughlin's brother, John, 73, who was in court with his wife Florence, 53, said his brother had 15 siblings and two daughters, and the whole family was devastated.

Mr McLoughlin said: "It has been a horrendous thing to happen.

"Words cannot describe how I feel about Cox."



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SEE ALSO
Man remanded over double murder
26 Dec 08 |  Lancashire
Man is charged with double murder
24 Dec 08 |  Lancashire

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