April 25, 2023 3.57 pm This story is over 14 months old

Skydiver found guilty of murder after ‘strangling girlfriend to death’

An argument over a sexual assault allegation turned fatal

A skydiving instructor has been convicted of the murder of his girlfriend after “red mist” descended following a sexual assault allegation.

Ashley Kemp, 55, has been convicted of the murder of mother-of-three Clair Armstrong, 50, on Elm Way in Messingham in November of last year.

Kemp, of Robinson Grove Hibaldstow, had denied murder but admitted manslaughter at a trial at Grimsby Crown Court.

However a jury unanimously found him guilty of murdering his partner.

The court heard how an argument broke out between the couple following an allegation that Kemp had sexually assaulted a teenage girl, leaving the relationship under ‘severe strain’.

During police interview, the defendant told officers he had strangled Clair Armstrong as “red mist” came over him when she told Kemp to leave the house.

Jurors were told how Kemp, a skydiving instructor from Hibaldstow, had headbutted Ms Armstrong after she lashed out at him during the argument.

Clair Armstrong was murdered in November 2022. | Photo: Facebook

Clair was found dead in her bed at her Messingham home, with Kemp calling 999 some 24 hours after she was last seen alive, confessing to killing her.

According to The Sun, he said: “I’ve killed my girlfriend. We got into a fight and I ended up strangling her.

“She is upstairs on the bed in the main bedroom. We just had an argument, that was all, and it just got heated.

“She just started thrashing out and I just reacted. I never react…I pinned her down and just choked her.”

Police found Kemp on a grass verge after he had crashed his car.

Kemp had told jurors it was never his intention to kill or cause Clair Armstrong serious harm, but it took the jury a little under four hours of deliberation to return a guilty verdict.

Ashley Kemp will be sentenced on May 3.

Senior Investigating Officer Detective Chief Inspector Simon Vickers leading the investigation into Clair’s murder said: “The unforgiveable and thoughtless actions of Ashley Kemp cost Clair her life and robbed her family of their loving mum, sister and friend.

“Clair’s family have shown great unity, dignity, and strength throughout what I can only imagine to be a period of devastating adversity.

“I’m pleased that Kemp is now being punished for his unforgiveable actions and I hope it provides Clair’s family with some comfort in knowing he cannot harm anybody else.”

Following the verdict, speaking of their loss, Clair’s family said: “As a family, we would like to thank Humberside Police for the incredible support and guidance they have given us throughout the darkest time of our lives.

“The day we lost Clair is the day our lives changed forever, we never imagined we would be in this position, but the support of the amazing group of people around us has helped in securing justice for Clair.

“We would like to thank our Family Liaison Officer who’s shown nothing but care and compassion whilst guiding us through this horrendous experience.

“As well, we’d particularly like to thank DCI Simon Vickers and DC Woodhouse for their incredible professionalism, hard work, compassion, support and tenacity to secure this conviction and seek justice for Clair, for which we are eternally grateful.

“Not forgetting those officers on scene guard, the traffic officers the search teams and the detectives involved in gathering evidence within the major crime team, you have all helped our beautiful sister, and mum, Clair.”

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