“If you stab someone 24 times, you damn well mean them to be dead.”
Geri Paynter, neighbour
It’s autumn 2012.
In the picturesque, upmarket and quiet village of Scalford, Leicestershire, 20-year-old Eddie Miller is being subjected to another volley of violent abuse from his unstable girlfriend, the 31-year-old Michelle Mills:
“They would argue on a regular basis, sometimes it was once a week, sometimes every ten days. It never went as long as two weeks without an argument.”
Geri becomes used to their routine; argue, loudly, and then have make up sex, equally noisily.
Despite his personal life spiralling out of control, professionally Eddie is succeeding. He receives a promotion to manager at the hotel. He and Mills go to tell his mum the good news:
“I told him I was proud of him, how much I loved him. We just gave each other...it was a really embracing long hug. And you could tell that he left like the king of the castle sort of thing. And we all hugged together, and then they left.”
Sara would never see her Eddie alive again.
It’s bonfire night.
Eddie and Mills go drinking at their local pub, which has a fireworks display and where Mills has part time work. At first, the couple appear ‘lovey-dovey’.
But eventually, inevitably, they argue. Eddie goes home alone.
The time is approximately 9pm.
Mills stays drinking. Once drunk, she heads home. Her neighbour Geri Paynter hears her return:
“The first thing I heard was the argument that started at quarter to ten. And it was started like all the others. And I just thought, ‘Oh god, we’re in for it again!”
“When Mills returns home they get into a fight. It turns out that Mills has been texting one of her ex-partners saying that she still loves him, wishes that she never left him. And I imagine that undoubtedly she’s coaxing him with this information. She’s trying to get him to rise to an argument, and it works because they get involved in a very, very big argument. Eddie must have felt so hurt, so let down, so upset. He’s put up with so much...and here is the woman that he loves saying that she wants to be with another man.”
Emma Kenny, Psychologist
Neighbour Geri’s also pretty sick and tired of the whole pointless cycle. At about a quarter to midnight, she slams her door loud enough for Mills and Eddie to hear. For a brief few minutes, they seem to get the hint.
And then the arguing starts again.
Geri believes that what she hears next is evidence of Mills trying to manipulate. Mills is shouting,
"get off me, get off me"
...so that Geri can hear.
Geri also hears Eddie shouting back,
“It’s your fault, you’re the trouble maker. It’s your fault, you’re the one.”
Eddie pushes Mills to the floor. In an attempt to calm things, or perhaps just sick of the whole thing, he sits on the sofa, and carries on drinking. But Eddie has resisted and pushed back against Mills. It is an unacceptable to Mills:
“On that night...he argued back. He wasn’t being controlled the way that she controlled him usually. When somebody like this is told no, or somebody stands up to them, that’s when their anger increases.”
Emma Kenny, Psychologist
Mills arms herself with a kitchen knife. She launches a frenzied attack;
“She stabs him in the back, in the front...24 times. He literally did not have a chance.”
“It was with such ferocity that it pierced in one end and it had started to come out the other side.”
Dylan Rockett, Eddie’s friend
One knife wound penetrates nine inches into the body. Such is the ferocity of the attack, Mills snaps the knife blade off the handle. Defence wounds on Eddie’s hands indicate he tries to protect himself. But the blows are too many. He’s stabbed in his chest, abdomen and back:
“Had someone told me that it was a killing of passion, (I’d say) to them, you’re talking s**t because (with a passion killing)...once you’re done...you’re like ‘what have I done?’ And you will do anything in your power to rectify it. And you will show remorse...But she didn’t do that.
She sat there and she watched him die.”
Eddie is bleeding out before her eyes.
Mills watches him. She waits 20 minutes to ring the emergency services.
“I believe she planned to kill him, and I believe that in those 20 minutes she knew he was dying, and she let him die.”
Dr. Keri Nixon, Forensic Psychologist
He’s still alive when the paramedics arrive.
Mills doesn’t express remorse, or shock, or plead with the paramedics to save her Eddie. As her lover lies dying on the living room floor, she blames him for causing his own death.