Sister of tragic Hartlepool mum says family will never again speak of 'creature' who murdered her

The heartbroken sister of murdered Hartlepool mum Kelly Franklin has said her family will never think of her killer Torbjorn Kettlewell again.

Kettlewell was today jailed for life for brutally stabbing to death the mother of his three children on August 3 last year.

Torbjorn Kettlewell was jailed for life for the murder of Kelly Franklin, with a recommendation that he serves 29 years before he is considered for parole.

Torbjorn Kettlewell was jailed for life for the murder of Kelly Franklin, with a recommendation that he serves 29 years before he is considered for parole.

Today a judge at Teesside Crown Court gave him the mandatory life sentence for murder, with a recommendation that he serves at least 29 years before he can be considered for release.

His accomplice and former lover Julie Wass was jailed for eight years after she was convicted of the manslaughter of 29-year-old Ms Franklin.

The court was told Kettlewell became frustrated after he split from Ms Franklin because he no longer had control over her.

He recruited Wass to spy on his ex in the months before the killing, and persuaded her to make a false report to social services claiming Ms Franklin was taking drugs, hoping it would frustrate her efforts to get their children back from care.

Kelly Franklin was stabbed more than 30 times by Kettlewell, who decided that if couldn't have her, no one else would.

Kelly Franklin was stabbed more than 30 times by Kettlewell, who decided that if couldn't have her, no one else would.

On the day of the murder, Wass drove Kettlewell around in her car as he tried to find Ms Franklin.

She watched calmly as Kettlewell stabbed Ms Franklin more than 30 times, then drove him away from the scene.

No murder weapon was ever found, but a knife of a size which approximately matched Ms Franklin's wounds was missing from a set in Kettlewell's kitchen.

In an emotional victim impact statement read to the court, Ms Franklin's sister Stacy branded Kettlewell "a virus" which Kelly was better off without.

Julie Wass was jailed for eight years after being convicted of the manslaughter of Kelly Franklin.

Julie Wass was jailed for eight years after being convicted of the manslaughter of Kelly Franklin.

Addressing Kettlewell across the crowded courtroom, Stacy said: "Kelly no longer wanted a creature like you in her life.

"She no longer wanted or needed you, in fact, she no longer spoke about you.

Related: Fantasist murderer Torbjorn Kettlewell has 'abnormality of mind' and even his own brother is disgusted by him

"Kelly rid herself of a virus when she left you, a virus that had plagued her for 12 years.

"She was always the better person, kind, caring, thoughtful, and loving. A person like you never deserved her.

"Why couldn't you just let her go, live her life, and be happy?"

Referring to the stabbing, Stacy asked Kettlewell: "How could you so brutally attack her? What made you feel you needed to use a knife?

"Kelly was tiny compared to you, she was scared of you, you were someone who was meant to love her.

"You were meant to take care of her, she was the mother of your children. Have you thought for one minute about them, and how they are?

"I will tell you, they are better off without you, they are flourishing, they don't even mention you."

Stacy said the family could never forgive Kettlewell, and as far as they were concerned he is now a 'non-person' who they will never speak of again.

Related: Murdered Hartlepool mum Kelly Franklin's family brand her killer Torbjorn Kettlewell an 'evil, vicious monster'

In relation to Wass, Stacy said the family was 'disgusted' that she had watched Kelly being stabbed while doing nothing to help her.

Kettlewell, 30, of Oval Grange, Hartlepool, was convicted of murder after a two-week trial.

Richard Wright QC, defending, said in mitigation: "Mr Kettlewell stood his trial, so there is not a great deal I can properly say on his behalf.

"We cannot accept that the stabbing was pre-planned that afternoon, although it's not clear exactly when Mr Kettlewell formed the intention to do it."

Wass, 48, of Kipling Street, Hartlepool, was charged with murder, but convicted of the alternative charge of manslaughter.

John Elvidge QC, defending, said in mitigation: "By the jury's verdict they have accepted Ms Wass did not know Kettlewell intended really serious harm to Ms Franklin.

"Ms Wass's conduct in this matter does her no credit, but the court may feel she was being used by Mr Kettlewell - that is something he did to other women, as we have heard.

"She was presented with a situation - the brutal stabbing - which she could not have contemplated, and to which she reacted unlawfully.

"It is true she helped Mr Kettlewell's escape, but she also revealed his name to the police when she spoke to them later.

"Ms Wass has no previous convictions, and she was previously of positively good character."

Mr Justice Jacobs described Stacy Franklin’s statement as “very moving” as he jailed Kettlewell for life with a minimum term of 29 years, and jailed Wass for eight years.

"No words of mine can convey the tragedy for Ms Franklin's family of the events of August 3," said the judge.

"Kelly was a mother of three young children, she was loved by them, and by all of her family. She had her life in front of her."

The judge told Kettlewell: “Your relationship with Kelly Franklin was controlling, manipulative and abusive. She had the good sense to leave you, and make it clear she did not want to see you any more.

"When you realised she was serious and wanted nothing more to do with you, you decided to kill her.

“You stabbed her to death brutally, with all the force you could muster, on the streets of Hartlepool, in front of other people, including at least one child, which caused the child to be sick.

“You did this stabbing without mercy, not caring about your own children or the woman you said you loved.”

Addressing Wass, the judge said: “Even though the attack had been horrific and far more violent than you anticipated, and involved stabbing with a knife, you drove him off.

"You made no attempt to call the emergency services, or stop him getting into your car. You waited for Mr Kettlewell, and drove him away from the scene.

"While I accept you did not expect to witness such a brutal attack, having done so your only concern was to help Mr Kettlewell. You showed no concern for Ms Franklin."

Neither Kettlewell nor Wass showed any emotion as sentence was passed.

The judge concluded the case by thanking members of Ms Franklin's family for the dignified way they had conducted themselves during the two-week trial.