UK & World News

  • 28 February 2013, 8:43

Briton Jailed For Girlfriend's Holiday Murder

A British man who beat and strangled his girlfriend to death while on holiday in the Canary Islands has been jailed for 24 years.

Christopher Chittock killed 23-year-old Sarah Shields on a beach on Gran Canaria on July 6, 2010, after finding text messages from an ex-boyfriend on her phone.

On the night of the attack, Chittock repeatedly punched his girlfriend in the bedroom of their holiday apartment in the resort of Mogan.

He then dragged her in the dark to a deserted beach, punched her to the ground, banged her head against a rock and strangled her.

Before burning her clothes, he dumped Ms Shields' body in the sea, where it was found the following morning.

The engineer then flew back to the home he shared with Ms Shields in Ipswich.

In a desperate attempt to cover up his crime, he kept his girlfriend's phone and sent texts to her family pretending to be her.

A European arrest warrant was issued and he was detained in September 2010 before being extradited to Spain.

The 38-year-old was convicted of the murder by a jury at the Provincial Court in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, in Spain, on Friday.

Sentencing Chittock, magistrate Secundino Aleman also ordered him to pay Ms Shields' parents 200,000 euros (172,000).

Chittock had denied murder and claimed Ms Shields left him for another British holidaymaker called Jason before she died.

The trial heard that the attack began after Chittock discovered the text exchange between Ms Shields and former boyfriend William Newham.

Although jurors found that this had not been proved, Mr Aleman said he was satisfied Chittock "acted out of spite" because of jealousy.

He also pointed out that Mr Newham gave evidence during the trial confirming he had been in contact with Ms Shields while she was on holiday.

"The accused himself admits he got angry with Sarah, although this was supposedly because she was going to leave him to stay and live in Gran Canaria with another person who she had met on the complex a couple of days before," the magistrate added.

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