Man jailed for murder of doctor in South Yorkshire, England

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Wednesday, January 27, 2010

A file photograph of Sheffield Crown Court
Image: Bencherlite.

Andrew Hill, a 49-year-old mechanic, was beginning a sentence of life imprisonment yesterday after being found guilty of the murder of his wife's lover. The trial at Sheffield Crown Court in South Yorkshire, England, had heard that Hill had murdered Colin Shawcross, a local medical practitioner, with a pickaxe handle after his wife had told him that she was leaving him for Shawcross.

You acted in a devious, vengeful, cowardly and unmanly way.

—Mr Justice Wilkie

Shawcross and Julie Hill started their relationship in January 2008. She told her husband that she was leaving him for Shawcross in January 2009, and on the next day, Hill murdered Shawcross at the doctor's house. He then drove the body to a local wood and buried it five feet underground. Shawcross's remains were not found for five months.

The jury unanimously found Hill guilty of murder. The judge, Mr. Justice Wilkie, sentenced Hill to life imprisonment with a minimum term of 17 years. In passing sentence, the judge said, "You acted in a devious, vengeful, cowardly and unmanly way. You deliberately armed yourself with a deadly weapon and engineered a situation where you were free to surprise Dr. Shawcross and strike him.

"You have been found guilty of the murder of Dr. Colin Shawcross, a man who had devoted himself for 30 years as a GP to caring for the health and well-being of his fellows. He still had a great deal to give both to society and his family."

Carol Shawcross, the deceased's widow, said after the court case that "[h]is murder has robbed me of the companionship, contentment and security that Colin and I had planned in retirement." Detective Superintendent Mick Mason of South Yorkshire Police spoke about the case after the court trial. "One year ago, Dr. Colin Shawcross was subjected to a brutal and unprovoked attack, which resulted in his death," he stated. "His body was removed from the scene in his own vehicle and was not recovered by the police for over five months. This has clearly been a very difficult time for Mrs Shawcross and her family but throughout they have conducted themselves with great dignity. I would like to take this opportunity to thank Mrs Shawcross and her sons for their support throughout the police investigation."