A man with a “primitive and narcissistic ego” who murdered his ex-partner in a jealous rage and then set her body on fire will serve at least 23 years in prison.
Habib Jackson, of Dunstable Road, Toddington, was sentenced today (Wednesday, May 4) for the murder of 29-year-old Louise Rump at her home in Kensworth.
The court heard how Jackson had told friends that if he could not have Miss Rump, no one could.
Jackson met Miss Rump at her flat before punching her in the face a number of times, then strangling and smothering her.
He then started a fire in the flat using a bottle of petrol he had brought to the scene.
At St Albans Crown Court, the 32-year-old was handed a life sentence and will serve a minimum of 23 years before he is considered for release.
“Louise Rump was a single mother of two children. As a result of your obsession with her and your controlling, violent nature, those two children will now have to live with the knowledge that, while they were at school, their mother was brutally strangled or smothered to death and her body was set on fire,” said Judge Michael Kay.
“Whatever her motives were for seeing you, you had no respect for her. Indeed, the messages… revealed that you had no respect for any women, treating them solely as opportunities for sex or for obtaining pornographic images.
“Your primitive and narcissistic ego was only concerned with how many conquests you could achieve, whether for money or through what only you perceived as your charm.”
On the morning of Friday 16 October 2020, Miss Rump took her daughter to school and returned home. This was the last time she was seen alive in public.
At around 11.15am that same day, Jackson was seen on CCTV heading towards Miss Rump’s address in Kensworth where he had planned to meet her. The court heard how Jackson had wanted to rekindle a relationship with her, but she did not feel the same.
Just over an hour later, the mother of two was found dead in her flat by firefighters.
Jane Hedges, Miss Rump’s aunt, said: “While we have taken some comfort from today’s sentence, nothing will ever make up for our loss and the grief our family is feeling.
“This was such a needless crime and a tragic waste of life. Louise was a real star among us, full of life and energy who would brighten any room she went into.
“Her children will now sadly have to grow up without their mum. Our thoughts are with them today and we will do everything we can to support them so they grow up to make their mum proud.”
Jackson admitted using petrol in a small drinks bottle during the attack, but told the court he had the small bottle of petrol in his car for a bonfire he was planning for bonfire night.
He was later seen discarding a bloodstained jumper and a cardboard box not far from the scene before driving off.
Shortly after the incident, Jackson went to his place of work in Houghton Regis where he concealed clothing and one of Ms Rump’s mobile phones in a bin.
“The killing was driven by jealousy, rage and an element of sexual frustration,” said Judge Kay.
T/Superintendent Rob Hall of the Bedfordshire, Cambridge and Hertfordshire Major Crime Unit, which led the investigation, said: “This was a horrifically violent and despicable crime committed against a young mother who had her whole life ahead of her and now leaves behind two young children.
“I welcome the result in court today and hope this goes some way in giving Louise’s family and friends the closure and justice they so deeply deserve.
“My thoughts remain with Louise’s family and her close friends at this time.”
A second man charged with her murder, Christopher Hayward, 32, of Fensome Drive, Houghton Regis, was found not guilty following the four-week trial at St Albans Court on Tuesday (3 May).