Two Barnsley women, who viciously beat another woman to death in May, are today collectively beginning over 50 years behind bars.
Penelope Brownlie, 45, and Justine Wainwright (aka Bridget O’Keefe), 58, both of Britannia Close in Barnsley, were today (Friday 16 November) convicted of murder, following a two-and-a-half week trial at Sheffield Crown Court.
They were sentenced to 26 years each.
The body of 42-year-old Clare Louise Smith was found by members of the public on land just off Union Street in Barnsley, on the morning of Saturday 19 May earlier this year.
Miss Smith was violently beaten and left with numerous injuries following a sustained attack, thought to be motivated by the theft of a gold necklace, as Detective Inspector Mark Oughton, the Senior Investigating Officer, explains.
“When we found Miss Smith’s body, it was clear that she had suffered a severe and sustained physical attack,” he said.
He added, “Through comprehensive detective work, Brownlie and Wainwright were soon identified as suspects and subsequently arrested.
“The attack was motivated by the suspicion that Miss Smith had some knowledge of a reported stolen necklace, which she denied.
“The pair used extreme levels of violence to try to extract information from Miss Smith, which is sickening. She was killed because of the questions she could not answer. After murdering her, they unceremoniously dumped her body yards from their flat and then went about cleaning the address and disposing of evidence.
“The dedicated investigation team worked meticulously to piece together the last movements of Miss Smith and those of the defendants through extensive CCTV and witness enquiries. Detailed forensic work was pivotal in these convictions.
“During the trial, the defendants claimed that some of the injuries had been self-inflicted. They claimed that once Miss Smith left their address, she was attacked by another unknown person who had killed her. This caused distress to the family who have had to endure two weeks of harrowing evidence listening about the last moments Miss Smith was alive.
“They gave no thought to the impact their actions would have on Miss Smith’s friends and family and on the local community.
“I am pleased the jury saw through this fabrication of lies.
“I hope that knowing they are now behind bars for a significant length of time offers some condolence to Miss Smith’s friends and family.”
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