A former amusement arcade worker who brutally murdered his ex-partner and her autistic son after developing a “hatred” for the boy was today (Wednesday) given two life sentences and must serve at least 40 years in jail.
Daniel Boulton, 30, carried out the brutal killings just a day after sending his former girlfriend a text which read “nightmare on Holme street”.
The next day Boulton repeatedly stabbed Bethany Vincent, 26, and her son Darren Henson, known to his family as DJ, after walking 28 miles to their house in High Holme Road, Louth.
Boulton was today (Wednesday) given two concurrent life sentences by Mr Justice Pepperall. He will serve a minimum of 40 years in jail before he is eligible to apply for parole, and may never be released.
Passing sentence at Lincoln Crown Court, Mr Justice Pepperall told Boulton he targeted DJ because of his hatred for him and his autism.
Mr Justice Pepperall said he was sure of four key elements in the case and told Boulton: “I am sure you forced your way into Bethany’s home with the intention of killing both her and DJ.
“I am sure you decided to carry out the offence before they moved out of your reach.
“I am sure you targeted DJ because of hatred motivated by his autism.
“I am sure you are a violent and dangerous man.”
Mr Justice Pepperall added that Boulton carried out the murders just minutes after Bethany and DJ enjoyed a FaceTime chat with Bethany’s mother, Caroline Vincent.
“He (DJ) was a happy little boy, surrounded by love.
“He was excited to be wearing his new Chelsea shirt.
“A mere 12 minutes later Bethany and DJ were bleeding to death.”
Mr Justice Pepperall said there were a large number of aggravating features in the case which merited a sentence of more than 30 years, and told Boulton he may pose a further risk of homicide and had shown no remorse.
The aggravating features included the murder of DJ in his bedroom, where he should have felt safe, and the result of a “abhorrent” campaign against Ms Vincent.
“I am sure on the evidence this was calm, purposeful violence.”
Boulton, who did not give evidence during his trial, admitted manslaughter but denied the two murders – telling a psychiatrist “autopilot did the job for me”.
But a jury rejected Boulton’s case that “he lost control” due to his personality disorder and took just two hours to convict him of both murders.
Jurors heard Boulton calmly smoked a cigarette in the garden after carrying out the murders and walked away leaving an unharmed but “distressed” nine-month-old child crawling around the house.
Boulton then led police on a manhunt until the following day, burgling a cottage where he stole alcohol and food, and stabbing an off-duty police officer in the leg in the Hubbard’s Hills area of Louth.
He was tasered and arrested at a nearby farm in Hallington after trying to hijack two cars and encouraging armed officers to shoot him.
Ms Vincent’s mother, Caroline Vincent, and DJ’s father, Kieran Henson, were among those watching from the public gallery as Boulton was sentenced.
There were shouts of “yes” from the public gallery as Mr Justice Pepperall said it maybe that Boulton is never released from custody.
In a victim impact statement which was read out in court by the prosecutor, Mrs Vincent described how her world came to end when police officers knocked on her door and told her Bethany had passed away.
Mrs Vincent said: “When they told me DJ had passed away as well, I just wanted to die.
“My beautiful girl and my grandson were gone.
“I was sure they had got it wrong.
“DJ was my special boy, he was born just 12 weeks after my dad passed away.”
She added: “Daniel Boulton has ruined so many lives.
“No mother should have to bury their daughter, never mind their grandson.
“It is all because of one selfish man – Daniel Boulton.”
In her statement Bethany’s younger sister, Chloe, described how she received a phonecall from her distraught mother.
“I knew he, Darren Boulton had something to do with it,” Chloe said.
“Then to be told it was not just my sister, but my nephew. I put the phone down.”
Ms Vincent’s father, Darren Vincent said in his statement: “I just wanted to die and be with them, as I didn’t want them to be on their own.
“I cannot get my head around that I will never see my daughter and my grandchild again.”
DJ’s father, Kieran Henson, in his statement said: “I took my son home to his mum at 4pm, and a few hours later a police officer woke me and told me my son is no longer with us.”
Mr Henson, who was in court explained: “I just want to look him (Boulton) in the eyes when he is sentenced and for him to realise he will never be a free man again.”
M Henson added: “The worst part was that I will never hear him (DJ) again shout ‘daddy.’
“I have gone from being a dad, to not being a dad. I don’t work anymore.
“My whole reason to live was taken away.”
His trial was told Boulton developed a “hatred” for DJ, who was autistic, and made a comment that his autism was contagious. He also remarked that he wanted to wipe out Ms Vincent’s bloodline.
Boulton walked from his hostel in Skegness to Ms Vincent’s home in High Holme Road, Louth, where he “loitered for hours” on May 31.
The day before at 4pm he sent Ms Vincent a text which read “nightmare on Holme street”.
Addressing the jury in her closing speech, prosecution barrister Katherine Goddard QC said: “That was what he delivered.”
Shocked emergency workers found Ms Vincent’s body in her front room shortly before 8.30pm. DJ, who had gone to bed in his favourite Chelsea shirt, was also discovered dead upstairs in his bedroom.
As well as being stabbed through the heart, both Ms Vincent and DJ had suffered blunt force injuries. Other injuries to DJ’s legs were consistent with him being chased up the stairs by a man with a knife.
During the trial Caroline Vincent, Bethany’s mother and DJ’s grandmother, described how the three of them had enjoyed a “bedtime chat” on FaceTime just minutes before Boulton kicked his way into the property and carried out the murders.
Mrs Vincent, who bravely gave her evidence in the courtroom without a screen, just a couple of metres from Boulton, said Bethany and DJ “were very happy,”
She told the jury: “DJ had his Chelsea football top on, he was going to sleep in it.”
Tragically, Mrs Vincent also revealed that Ms Vincent was due to move house just four days later to an address unknown by Boulton.
Jurors heard that after the murders Boulton spent the night on the run.
At one stage he broke into an empty cottage at Hubbards Hills, on the outskirts of Louth, where he stole some alcohol, clothing and food and left a note saying “I, Daniel Boulton, take full responsibility”.
The next day he assaulted off-duty police officer PC Stephen Dennis who was walking his dog near Hubbard’s Hills, Louth, and tried to detain him.
Miss Goddard said: “He saw Mr Boulton was talking to another dog walker, an elderly woman, causing him to be concerned for her safety, so he approached Mr Boulton.
“There was a short confrontation, blows being exchanged between the two men, before Mr Boulton ran off pursued by PC Dennis and there was a second confrontation.
“During the second confrontation Mr Boulton pulled out a knife and stabbed PC Dennis in the leg.
“Once again Mr Boulton ran off but PC Dennis managed to contact his colleagues and soon the area was flooded with police.”
Boulton tried to get in a young family’s car, and then attempted to hijack another vehicle being driven by farm manager Greta Roberts.
Mrs Roberts described how she sped away after Boulton ran out from a silage shed with a rope around his neck and tried to get in to her car.
A short time later Boulton was cornered at Hallington House Farm and tasered after trying to get some of the armed officers to shoot him.
Miss Goddard said Boulton had previously expressed his intention to kill and made his way to Louth on foot.
“It was a man who had planned his actions, who was fully in control of them,” Miss Goddard added.
Jurors heard Boulton had a troubled childhood, repeatedly being expelled from school, and described his father as a “football hooligan who drank too much”.
He held a number of short term jobs, including one in an amusement arcade, but had not worked since 2019 and admitted to being a regular gambler who began binge drinking at the age of 13 and got into regular fights.
Two psychiatrists agreed Boulton was suffering from a dissocial personality disorder, but the prosecution argued Boulton was still capable of carefully planning the killings.
Boulton told defence psychiatrist Dr Pablo Vandenabeele he arrived at Ms Vincent’s home at midday on May 31, but she “kicked him out,” and he returned later.
Once inside Boulton said he begged Ms Vincent, but she kicked him over and laughed at him, so he went to get a knife from the kitchen.
“I guess I wanted to threaten her, I wanted to Romeo and Juliet her, I probably just wanted to kill myself,” Boulton said.
“It was like I wasn’t there, auto-pilot did the job for me.”
Boulton added: “It was like she went into the knife.”
He then went upstairs to DJ’s bedroom and inflicted the first wounds to his temple.
“The initial first few stabs weren’t me,” Boulton told Dr Vandenabeele.
The jury heard Ms Vincent began seeing Boulton in March 2019 and the relationship initially went well.
But Boulton became increasingly violent towards Ms Vincent and repeatedly broke a restraining order which prevented any contact between them.
Jurors heard Ms Vincent’s previous relationship with DJ’s father, Kieran Henson, broke down when he was just a toddler, but Mrs Vincent described him as an “excellent dad” who would see his son on weekends and in the holidays.
During her evidence Mrs Vincent admitted Boulton initially “seemed a nice smart lad.”
The good period lasted for “some months,” until her daughter became distant, and gave up her job, Mrs Vincent told the jury.
“She didn’t want me to go round as much,” Mrs Vincent added. “He (Boulton) was staying alot.”
Mrs Vincent said she began to notice other changes.
“He (Boulton) was always with her, we didn’t seem to get much time with her, ” Mrs Vincent told the jury.
“He was quite possessive over her.”
The jury heard DJ was diagnosed with autism when he was two-and-a-half years old. Mrs Vincent said Boulton initially seemed fine with DJ but that changed later in the relationship.
“He (Boulton) said to us once he didn’t think DJ was autistic, he was just naughty.”
Mrs Vincent said the relationship became “on-off” and she would try to visit her daughter when Boulton wasn’t there.
“I knew he wasn’t treating my daughter properly,” Mrs Vincent told the jury. “He didn’t like me.”
After an incident at High Holme Road where police were called Boulton was the made the subject of a restraining order.
Mrs Vincent told the jury: “I got my daughter back.”
But Boulton continued to contact Ms Vincent and sent her nearly 900 messages on the weekend before the murders.
Miss Goddard said the prosecution had considered if Boulton’s conduct merited a whole life sentence but concluded that it did not meet the threshold as there was no element of abudction or a sexual motive, and only an element of premeditation and planning.
Dapinder Singh QC, mitigating for Boulton, said there was some evidence that Boulton had another purpose in visiting Ms Vincent’s home and did not take the murder weapon with him.
Co-op CCTV of Boulton
CCTV shows footage of Boulton before he carried out the double murder
Helicopter footage of Boulton at the barn
Body cam footage of Boulton’s arrest