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Arminghall murder trial: Row over decorating ended in husband killing his wife

PUBLISHED: 07:31 04 December 2012 | UPDATED: 18:30 04 December 2012

Angela Crompton, nee Phillips, was found injured at her home on June 11. Credit: Norfolk Police/PA Wire.

Angela Crompton, nee Phillips, was found injured at her home on June 11. Credit: Norfolk Police/PA Wire.

A husband killed his newly-wed wife with an industrial-sized hammer after an argument sparked by a row over decorating, a court heard yesterday.

Thomas Crompton hit wife Angela Crompton, nee Phillips, over the head three times with the hammer, normally used for metalwork in the workshop of the sculptor’s Arminghall home.

When arrested by police, Crompton, 39, said the row on Monday, June 11 this year had escalated after they fell out over decorating their house on Arminghall Lane.

Peter Gair, prosecuting, told Norwich Crown Court: “Angela told him she was going to start decorating and that she had started to put some of his things into a box. He was concerned his items may be damaged. He said he was really annoyed and that this turned into a massive row.”

The mother-of-three, right, who had children from a previous relationship, was taken to the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital after the attack in the village south of Norwich.

She was moved onto Addenbrooke’s but died two days later.

Bjorn Fiskvatn, a Norwegian metal sculptor, who was working with Crompton in his workshop on the day of the killing, described how the 39-year-old, father-of-two emerged from the house with beads of sweat on his forehead and the blood-stained hammer in his hand.

“Tom came in and he placed a hammer on the bench in front of me and he said, ‘that is it. I have killed her’.

“I was left very confused because I thought this was some kind of joke.”

Mr Fiskvatn said Crompton, who he had worked with since 2006, had gone into the house to make a cup of tea for him, as he kept an eye on the workshop’s furnace which they were using for melting iron.

The smash of crockery could be heard from the house, but Mr Fiskvatn thought nothing of it as he texted his partner from a caravan by the workshop in Crompton’s garden.

But when Crompton told him about the killing, they both went into the house to check the 34-year-old’s pulse as she lay on her back on the dining room floor.

Mr Fiskvatn called 999, and an ambulance and the police were on the scene shortly after 4pm.

He said: “I tried to find any other explanation to why there was blood and hair on the hammer, but slowly I came to the realisation that what he told me was the truth.”

The witness had earlier told the court that the couple, who married in March, had been having problems and Crompton was seeking help for his wife.

“He loved her deeply,” Mr Fiskvatn said. “They were taking steps to seek professional help and guidance.”

Ten days earlier, on June 1, Crompton had come into the workshop with bags of kitchen knives.

He told his workmate that his wife had threatened to hurt herself and he wanted to keep the knives away from her.

Crompton admits the killing, but denies murder.

A jury will decide if he is guilty of murder or manslaughter in a trial expected to last two weeks.

The trial continues.

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