A JILTED boyfriend killed himself, his ex-girlfriend and her new partner by storming into her bedroom and setting it on fire, a court heard today.
Ashley Martin, 32, was said to have hired a van and bought a ‘murder kit’ full of knives, gas, matches and other weapons and headed to Jay Edmunds’s house on New Year’s Day.
Martin was ‘devastated’ after Miss Edmunds 27, from Lincolnshire, ended their relationship on December 28 last year because he was too “smothering”.
She was his first and only girlfriend, but after eight months together, their relationship broke down over Christmas and Miss Edmunds went back to former partner Billy Hicks.
Detectives discovered his murder kit consisting of a Bear Grylls lock knife, a hunting knife, a 20 litre jerry can, binoculars, waterproof matches, strong fishing line, a camping stove and gas, a torch, batteries and waterproof matches.
Despite being in a diesel van, he also bought 17 litres of petrol from a Shell garage less than half a mile away.
Van driver Miss Edmunds returned home at around 2.30am on New Year’s Day with Mr Hicks, 24, and the pair went to her bedroom.
But a short time later, it is believed that Mr Martin climbed through a kitchen window which had been left ajar for the cat at the four bedroom home in Peartree Road, Kirton near Boston, Lincolnshire.
Miss Edmunds’ two housemates were woken by screaming and shouting, as Mr Martin confronted her and his love rival in the bedroom.
Mr Hicks was stabbed in the heart during a struggle before Mr Martin apparently sparked the blaze with the petrol, causing a fireball explosion which blew out the bedroom windows as the fuel vapour exploded.
The inquest in Boston heard how the fire was so intense that the bedroom collapsed into the living room below where the three badly burned bodies were recovered.
He had a knife and he pointed it at me. He just stood there, He didn’t speak. He had a crazy, angry look on his face.
Surviving flatmate Natalie Hall
Post mortems concluded that all three died from smoke inhalation while a contributory factor in the death of Mr Hicks was the life-threatening wound to his heart.
One housemate Rachel Braim was trapped behind the locked front door of the house and was saved by two neighbours who smashed the glass pane in the door and dragged her out, the hearing was told.
Natalie Hall who was also living in the house had to jump for her life from her own bedroom window to escape the flames.
The inquest heard how it was likely that Mr Martin would have been charged with two murders if he had survived.
Miss Hall fought back tears as she said Mr Hicks that been “a common visitor” to see Miss Edmunds at the house in Kirton since the beginning of December.
She said she returned to the house by coincidence at the same time as Miss Edmunds and Mr Hicks, and posed for a Snapchat video with them in the hallway before they ay all went to bed.
Miss Hall said: “I was just drifting off about ten minutes later when I heard banging, shouting and screaming. I jumped out of bed and went straight to Jay’s room. I knocked and shouted, “What the f*** is happening?”
“I presumed Billy and Jay were just arguing. I didn’t know that there was a third person.”
STABBED IN THE HEART
Miss Hall said the door was locked from the inside and she kicked it in vain as she tried to get in.
“The next minute, the door opens and Ashley was stood there. I had never seen a picture of him but I knew from what Jade had said that it was him. He had a knife and he pointed it at me. He just stood there, He didn’t speak. He had a crazy, angry look on his face.”
She said she could not see Miss Edmunds or Mr Hicks in the room. Miss Braim then came out of her room and pulled her away, taking her to her room and telling her to lock the door.
Miss Hall said she could then hear Miss Braim banging on the door and she became aware of the smell of petrol or gas as her housemate hammered on the door.
She went out again and saw an orange glow from the under the door as a fire started in the room before an explosion which “shook the whole house” a few seconds later.
Lincolnshire area coroner Paul Smith recorded conclusions that the deaths of Miss Edmunds and Mr Hicks were unlawful killing, and that the death of Mr Martin was suicide.
He said: “It is clear from the evidence that he gave a significant amount of thought and planning to his escapade. He made a number of chilling purchases from the store en route. He brought petrol and I am satisfied that he was searching for Jay.
“I am satisfied he entered the house in the early hours and confronted Jay and Billy in her room, armed with knives and petrol. There was evidence of assaults on Jay and Billy.
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“There is also ample evidence that they were prevented from leaving the room. He took a large quantity of petrol in the house and the only explanation is that he wanted to use it as an accelerant.”
Ashley Martin’s brother Peter Martin said that his brother had developed “a fascination with the Army” after being in the Army cadets as a teenager.
He added in a statement that Mr Martin owned a samurai sword with a seven inch handle and a razor sharp 10 inch blade, two crossbows, and items of Army clothing.
Lincolnshire police constables Michael Redfern, Michael Rooke, Daniel Lewis, Samuel Pick and PC Sharpe bravely rushed into the house after kicking the door in, but were beaten back by flames and the intense heat.
The family of Jay Edmunds said after the hearing: “Jay was brutally murdered by a person that we trusted. We will never begin to understand why.
“We are shocked and horrified by the events that have taken her from us.
“We miss her every minute of every day, our hearts are broken and our life will never be the same.
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