Life for ‘horrendous’ killing of grandmother

Mary Evans
Mary Evans

A newly-married grandmother was murdered at the wheel of her car by her brother-in-law, who claimed she had spoilt his life.

Mary Evans, 70, was stabbed repeatedly through the open driver’s window by John Evans who was angry that she and his brother were selling their late mother’s home.

The attack in Trent Road, Luton, was witnessed by members of the public who tried to intervene. One woman was told by Evans, who was armed with a kitchen knife, : “Go away she is not dead yet.” He told another woman: She is a bitch. I am going to kill her.”

Others heard him say: “She has spoilt my life” and “Die Die Die.”

Evans, now 57, was distracted by a man he knew, Andrew Semple, who rolled him a cigarette. By distracting Evans and negotiating with , two other men, Tony Kelly and Stuart Bowman, were able to bring him to the ground where they held him until the police arrived.

When told he was arrested for murder Evans said: “My brother is not going to be too f...... pleased about that. Hey mum. That’s what I done for you.”

Prosecutor Alan Blake told Luton crown court today that Mary, who was known as May and came originally from Cork in Ireland, had married Evans’ brother David, 65, six weeks before her murder.

The brothers’ mother Joan had died on 25 October last year and the defendant, who was known as Welsh John, was unhappy that David and May were selling her bungalow in Liddel Close, Luton which was near both David and May’s house and his own flat. David had jointly owned the home his mother and paid the mortgage. The couple were planning to move to Lincolnshire.

There had been bad feeling about the relationship between May and David within the family. John Evans wrote what Mr Blake described as a “vengeful and hate-filled letter” to his brother in which he claimed May had told him that she had chosen the wrong brother. “May said it was nonsense,” said Mr Blake.

Feelings were so bad between John Evans and May that he went to Joan’s funeral and not the wake, while May did not go to the funeral and attended the wake.

At around 3pm on Monday 18 November, after drinking four or five pints of bitter in the Biscot Mill pub, he confronted May in her small red car at the junction of Trent Road and Solway Road South, near their homes. The attack caused to the car to crash into a fence

Mrs Evans was treated at the scene by paramedics, but was pronounced dead at a quarter past four. She was a retired cashier whose first husband had died of cancer. She had a son Mark and daughter Yvette.

John Evans of Thames Court, Luton pleaded guilty to the murder. In June 1987 he had been jailed for 3 years for the attempted murder of his mother Joan. After an argument he had placed a length of cord around her neck and garroted her until her false teeth popped out, said Mr Blake.

His barrister Roderick James told the court he had been diagnosed with personality disorders as long ago as 1983. He had no memory of what happened since he left the pub. He said: “He believed his brother was taking his money by selling the home. “

He said he apologised to the family for what he had done and the pain he had caused.

Judge Michael Kay QC sentenced John Evans to life imprisonment with a minimum term of 21 years and 203 days, taking account into the 162 days he has already spent on remand awaiting sentence.

He said: “May Evans was a much-loved mother and grandmother.” He said he had read victim impact statements from her family which indicated her death had left them “bereft.”

He went on: “This was a horrendous attack on a woman who could not defend herself in a public place.

“You snapped out of anger at what you perceived to be unjust treatment by your brother and his new wife. You armed yourself with a knife in the middle of the day and went to May Evans as she sat in her car.”

The judge praised the bravery of Mr Semple, Mr Kelly and Mr Bowman and said they should be given a reward of £250. He said:”They were confronted by a man holding a bloodied knife who had just stabbed May Evans. The normal reaction in those circumstances is not to get involved. Their courage in intervening to negotiating with the defendant and in the case of Tony Kelly and Stuart Hogan in putting him to the ground until the police arrived deserves recognition.