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Friday 21 July 2017

Soldier slit ex-girlfriend's throat after she started dating another man 'in an act of utter barbarism'

Undated handout photo issued by Northumbria Police of Alice Ruggles as Lance Corporal Trimaan
Undated handout photo issued by Northumbria Police of Alice Ruggles as Lance Corporal Trimaan "Harry" Dhillon, 26, has been convicted of murdering her and leaving her to bleed to death on her bathroom floor in Gateshead last October. Photo credit should read: Northumbria Police/PA Wire
Independent.ie Newsdesk

Independent.ie Newsdesk

An obsessed soldier who stalked and then murdered his ex girlfriend by slashing her neck in an act of "utter barbarism" has been jailed for life with a minimum term of 22 years.

Lance Corporal Trimaan "Harry" Dhillon broke into Alice Ruggles' Gateshead flat last October and cut her throat from ear to ear after he found out she had found happiness with another man.

Undated handout photo issued by Northumbria Police of Trimaan
Undated handout photo issued by Northumbria Police of Trimaan "Harry" Dhillon, 26, who has been jailed at Newcastle Crown Court for life with a minimum term of 22 years for murdering his ex-girlfriend Alice Ruggles after he stalked her and then cut her throat. Photo credit should read: Northumbria Police/PA Wire

The 26-year-old had driven 120 miles from his barracks near Edinburgh to confront Miss Ruggles and grabbed a long, sharp carving knife cutting through to her spine.

He did not react when a jury at Newcastle Crown Court convicted him of murder after they took less than two hours to dismiss his fanciful story that she had accidentally stabbed herself while lunging at him.

Judge Paul Sloan QC said: "Precisely what happened once you were in the flat only you now know, but you have never had the decency to say."

Miss Ruggles (24) tried to lock herself in the bathroom but Dhillon kicked it down.

At 6ft 1ins and 12-and-a-half stone the 2 Scots signaller who was training for the Special Reconnaissance Regiment was nearly a foot taller and three stone heavier than his victim.

The judge said: "You were pinning her down, probably by kneeling on her back, and in an act of utter barbarism you slashed her throat with a knife, slashed her at least six times, causing catastrophic injuries."

Dhillon fled without dialling 999 but remembered to take her phone and the murder weapon, disposing of them on the way back to Edinburgh.

Her flat mate Maxine McGill made the gruesome discovery on the bathroom floor and a harrowing 999 call was played to the jury.

Dhillon told a series of lies to talk his way out of trouble, and in his defence, made a series of accusations about the woman he supposedly loved.

Judge Sloan said: "Not a shred of remorse have you shown from first to last, indeed you were concentrating so hard on getting your story right when giving evidence, you forgot even to shed a crocodile tear."

The murder was aggravated by the way Dhillon had made Miss Ruggles, described as normally fun-loving and a "ray of sunshine", miserable over the last weeks of her life.

Dhillon, who had been serially unfaithful, knocked on her door at night and terrified her by tapping on her window and leaving flowers and chocolates on the sill.

That led her to complain to the police and gain an official PIN warning, telling him to leave her alone, which he ignored.

He had tried to hack her social media accounts and messaged the new man in her life, trying to make out Miss Ruggles was two-timing him.

During their intense relationship, jealous Dhillon had isolated her from her close circle of friends, manipulating and controlling her.

Dhillon stared intently ahead as moving victim statements were read on behalf of her father Clive, who is a professor, her mother Dr Sue Hills, sister Emma and brothers Nick and Patrick.

Dr Hills said she had "failed" her daughter by teaching her to see the good in everyone, and also by not standing up to Dhillon herself after he contacted the mother on Facebook.

"This feeling of failure will stay with me forever," she said, adding she would never forgive herself for advising her daughter that if she ignored Dhillon, he would eventually stop contacting her.

Her father said: "We all share a sense of guilt. Rationally we know only one person is responsible.

"All of us feel we should have paid more attention to aspects of his personality that perhaps should have forewarned us."

Jamie Hill QC, defending, said while there was no psychiatric illness or mental disorder, "the defendant's personality traits are clearly discernible from the evidence".

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