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Last Updated: Wednesday, 29 March 2006, 15:08 GMT 16:08 UK
Man murdered pregnant girlfriend
Hayley Richards
Hayley was murdered following a row with Quintas
A Portuguese factory worker who cut his pregnant girlfriend's throat in a fit of jealous rage has been convicted of her murder.

Hugo Quintas, 25, killed 23-year-old Hayley Richards at her flat in Trowbridge, Wiltshire, last June after she admitted sleeping with another man.

The jury at Bristol Crown Court took two hours to reach a guilty verdict.

Less than a week before her death, Ms Richards had reported Quintas to Wiltshire Police after he attacked her.

His friend, Sergio da Cunha, 30, who was accused of washing Quintas' blood-stained clothes and then helping him to catch a flight to Portugal, was found not guilty of perverting the course of justice.

As the verdict was read out, members of Miss Richards' family cheered and shouted "yes". Some burst into tears.

Hugo Quintas during police interview
I will never, never forgive him - he's broken our hearts.
Christina Richards, Hayley's mother

Quintas, who arrived in England from Porto in 2003, had tried to strangle his lover of 10 months after she threw him out of her flat six days before he eventually killed her.

She told officers she was "petrified" of her boyfriend and feared he would "go mad" if he found out she had reported him to the police.

But Wiltshire Constabulary failed to arrest Quintas - who claimed the attack was her fault - despite her warnings.

The force's handling of Miss Richards' complaint is being investigated by the Independent Police Complaints Commission.

During the two-week trial, the jury heard Quintas set upon his girlfriend, who was two months pregnant with his baby, in a "prolonged, deliberate and fatal attack" in the early hours of 11 June last year.

Quintas caught a plane to Portugal the day after the murder, starting an international manhunt. He was eventually picked up by Spanish border police.

Speaking outside court Hayley's mother, Christina, said: "We lost a wonderful person from our lives when Hayley was murdered and there is nothing that can ever make up for what has happened to our family.

'Shockingly calm'

"It is, however, some consolation that someone has been found guilty of her murder. Hayley loved life. We will never forget her and we'll always remember the memories we have of our time with her."

Senior Investigating Officer, Det Ch Supt Mike Veale, said the crime was "devoid of emotion".

"Hugo Quintas committed one of the most violent and shocking crimes I have ever investigated," he said.

"His murderous slaying of Hayley Richards and her unborn child was cold-blooded in its planning and horrific in its execution.

"His subsequent behaviour was cruel in the extreme, devoid of emotion and remorse and shockingly calm."


BBC NEWS: VIDEO AND AUDIO
Hayley Richards' mother gives her reaction


Wiltshire Police say it was a "cold-blooded" murder



SEE ALSO:
Killer wiped out two generations
29 Mar 06 |  Wiltshire
Woman's throat cut in affair row
22 Mar 06 |  Wiltshire
Accused suspected secret affair
21 Mar 06 |  Wiltshire
Dead woman 'petrified' of partner
14 Mar 06 |  Wiltshire
Accused 'cut girlfriend's throat'
13 Mar 06 |  Wiltshire


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