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Last Updated: Wednesday, 20 December 2006, 13:49 GMT
Double killer wins term reduction
William Crompton and Fiona Ovis
William Crompton and Fiona Ovis were murdered in May 1996
A man who murdered his ex-girlfriend and her teenage partner after recording the sound of their lovemaking has won a reduction in his minimum jail term.

Andrew Cole, from Llandrindod Wells, was convicted of the 1996 murders of Fiona Ovis, 28, and William Crompton, 18, at both trial and retrial.

But he claimed he should have been convicted of manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility.

A High Court judge has now reduced Cole's minimum tariff to 11 years.

Following his review, Mr Justice MacKay, sitting in London, also said that the near-30 months Cole spent on remand in custody should be deducted from the minimum term.

It means Cole could be eligible for parole next June but the Parole Board will only release a prisoner on licence if they are no longer considered to be a risk to the public.

'Mental abnormality'

The judge said that "notwithstanding the appalling nature of this double murder", the outstanding feature in the case was the "obvious sub-normality or mental abnormality of the defendant".

That alone was sufficient to require a reduction in minimum tariff to 11 years, he said.

Cole was originally convicted in January 1997 and given two life sentences.

Chester Crown Court had heard he stabbed doctor's daughter Ms Ovis 52 times when he burst into a bedroom of her grandparents' bungalow in Llandrindod Wells in May 1996.

Picture of Llandrindod Wells murder scene
The double killing took place at a bungalow in Llandrindod Wells

Ms Ovis' boyfriend William Crompton was stabbed 38 times.

Cole, who was then in his late 20s, had admitted killing the couple with a knife in the course of a "frenzied" attack.

The judge at the first trial declared himself "astonished" that the jury rejected Cole's diminished responsibility defence.

But at retrial in November 1998 the jury once again rejected diminished responsibility.

Mr Justice Mackay described the circumstances leading to the murders as "bizarre".

'Passionate relationship'

The judge said after being rebuffed by a girl as a teenager Cole took to a reclusive lifestyle, barricading himself in his room until he was compulsorily admitted to a mental hospital where he met Ms Ovis.

The pair began what was from Cole's point of view "an intense and passionate relationship with what was his first real female friend".

However, Cole was "devastated" when Ms Ovis formed a new relationship.

He was readmitted to hospital but, within 30 hours of his release, carried out the murders.

Cole took a knife, fuel, tape, cord and a tape recorder to the place where he knew he would find the pair and "persuaded himself that he could hear signs of love-making".

The judge said: "There was no dispute but that the defendant suffered from a paranoid personality disorder of the obsessive/compulsive type at the time of these events.

"The issue was whether his responsibility for what he died was substantially impaired and the verdict of two juries was that it was not.

"That said, he was on any view a deeply damaged personality at the relevant time."

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11 Oct 03 |  Mid Wales
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10 Jul 03 |  Mid Wales

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