A schoolboy who stabbed his former girlfriend to death, then placed her hand on the knife in her neck to make it look as though she had killed herself, has been jailed for life.
Thomas Griffiths, now 18, stabbed Ellie Gould (17) to death at her home in Calne in Wiltshire on May 3 after she ended their relationship.
He left her lying in a pool of blood on the kitchen floor, where her father found her four hours later.
After the murder, Griffiths returned to school and sought support from a matron as well as sending messages to Ellie’s friends to say he could not get hold of her.
Mr Justice Garnham said Griffiths – who wept as the case was opened at Bristol Crown Court – will serve a minimum of 12-and-a-half years.
Ellie’s family and friends packed the public galleries of court room one.
Opening the case for the first time, Richard Smith QC said Ellie and Griffiths, of Derry Hill, Wiltshire, had been in a relationship since January 2019.
“However, in a message sent to friends on social media at 6pm on May 2, Ellie announced that she had split from the defendant and that he had not taken the separation well,” Mr Smith said.
“Earlier that same day, Ellie had told her friends that she felt suffocated by Griffiths’s attentions.”
Mr Smith said Griffiths had been driven to school on the morning of May 3 by his mother but he had “no intention” of going.
He took a bus home before driving to Ellie’s family home, arriving there at 10.58am and leaving at 11.51am.
“Griffiths became angry, perhaps by Ellie’s continued rejection of him and he attacked her,” Mr Smith said.
“A post-mortem examination indicated that Ellie was first incapacitated by pressure having been applied to her neck.
“There are at least 13 wounds inflicted with the knife focused mainly around the area of the left neck.”
Mr Smith said Griffiths had tried to clean up the murder scene with cloths he hid in a wood near his home.
Blood-staining on an apron suggests Griffiths wiped the knife before placing it back in Ellie’s neck.
“The defendant must have placed [Ellie’s] hand on the handle,” Mr Smith said. “No doubt to make it look as though she, Ellie, had inflicted the wounds on herself.”
A text was sent from Ellie’s phone telling a friend she was not going to school that day.
After the murder, Griffiths drove home and told a neighbour he had self-harmed, with deep scratches to his neck.
“In truth, the injuries to the defendant’s neck and to his hand were nothing to do with self-infliction but very much more likely the product of his young victim having fought for her life,” Mr Smith said.