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Taximan killed woman and cut her legs off

A taxi driver has admitted killing a woman in a "frenzied" attack with a hammer and a knife before sawing her legs off and burying her at a beauty spot.

Martin Bell said God told him to kill 23-year-old Gemma Simpson when she was at his flat in Harrogate, North Yorkshire, 14 years ago in May 2000.

Bell pleaded guilty to manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility at Leeds Crown Court.

The 45-year-old, who handed himself into police earlier this year, said he gave Ms Simpson the opportunity to get away but killed her after he thought she had threatened his children.

Simon Myerson QC told the court Bell launched a "frenzied" attack in which he repeatedly struck Ms Simpson with a hammer and then stabbed her in the back and neck an "enormous" and "uncountable" number of times with a kitchen knife.

Bell filled a bath with water and left Ms Simpson in it for four days with her hands tied behind her back because he was "frightened she would come back to life".

Mr Myerson said Bell closed the shower curtain so he did not have to see the body.

diagnosed

He hired a car but found that he could not fit Ms Simpson's body in the boot, so he sawed off the bottom of his victim's legs.

Bell, who has been diagnosed with psychotic illness, told police he did this "as fast as I could so I wasn't sick".

He wrapped Ms Simpson's body in a sleeping bag and secured it with chains and a padlock "so she couldn't get out".

He then drove her to Brimham Rocks, near Harrogate, where he dug a hole with a shovel and buried her.

hnews@herald.ie


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