Amelia Hall (known as Millie) was murdered by her father just two days before her fourth birthday. Whilst this tragic story is unusual for the Domestic Violence Memorial, it is included as the motivations are the same as for many cases of domestic violence, that of jealousy and revenge. Millie was murdered by Hall to punish his wife for her infidelity.
Gavin Hall (33), a radiographer, killed Millie in the early hours of 29th November 2005, and had attempted to take his own life also. A day or two before this tragedy, Hall had killed two of the three family cats, in preparation, in order to ‘stage a scene of horror for his wife to discover’.
Hall, who had been off work and on anti-depressants, had drugged Millie with the medication, before covering her mouth with cloth soaked in chloroform. Millie had received scratch marks on her face from Hall forcing the cloth over her mouth. He also later admitted strangling her.
The emails exchanged between his wife and the judge with whom she was having an affair, were read out at the trial. I found this to be completely irrelevant, as infidelity is NOT justifiable grounds for homicide.
Hall had denied the murder charge, but had pled guilty to manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility. The Jury found him guilty of murder, the Judge during sentencing said that it was “a planned and premeditated attack carried out after Hall had discovered the ‘extraordinarily sexually explicit’ emails.”
Hall has been sentenced to life and will serve a minimum of 15 years.
From the BBC (02 Nov 2006):
MAN KILLED HIS ‘BELOVED’ DAUGHTER
The possessive love of Gavin Hall contributed to his elder daughter’s death, a court has heard.
Hall, 33, of Grey Street, Irchester, Northamptonshire, has been convicted of murdering three-year-old Amelia – known to most people as Millie, in a reaction to his wife’s affair with a judge.
He left her younger sister, with whom he had never bonded, uninjured.
Hall tried to paint a picture for the court of a double-suicide attempt, in which Millie agreed to “come with Daddy” on his journey. He claimed she did not suffer at the end of her young life.
He claimed she willingly took one of his antidepressant pills before she slowly and peacefully fell unconscious with the effects of the anaesthetic chloroform, as her mother and sister slept in their Northamptonshire home.
But the evidence provided in court told a different story. Hall admitted that scratch marks on Millie’s face were caused by his fingernails as he forced the anaesthetic-soaked rag over her mouth.
The skin around her mouth and one of her eyes were burned by the chemical. He admitted strangling the youngster with his left hand as she lay dying in his arms. Although the amounts of antidepressant and chloroform could have been fatal, she was actually suffocated, the court heard.
All this was done to the little girl he called “my angel”.
Hall had not initially wanted children and described his cats as his babies. But, as the jury heard, Millie’s birth changed his life. “There was no doubt that Gavin loved Millie,” wife, now known as Joanne Rainsley, told the court.
Despite his pronounced love for Millie, Hall regarded his second daughter Lucy as his wife’s baby, not his. The evidence suggested he initially planned to kill both girls then himself. But he left Lucy asleep.
In his suicide notes, written on the night of the killing, he said to his wife: “I only took them so they would be loved, cherished and adored in the way you can but are unable to give.”
Later in the rambling letters he adds: “Do not lament Millie, she needed me more. What little love you do show can now be for Lucy.”
From Times Online (03 Nov 2006):
FATHER WHO KILLED DAUGHTER TO AVENGE AFFAIR IS JAILED FOR LIFE
By Michael Horsnell
A radiographer who drugged his daughter with antidepressants then suffocated her with a chloroform-soaked rag in revenge for his wife’s affair was sentenced to life in prison for murder yesterday.
Gavin Hall, who killed Millie, 3, at the family home before attempting suicide as his wife and younger daughter slept upstairs, will serve a minimum of 15 years in jail, Judge Charles Wide, QC, said.
Hall, 33, told police: “I killed my angel and I have not joined her.” He was convicted at Northampton Crown Court after a six-day trial.
Outside the court Joanne Rainsley, 31 — she has reverted to her maiden name — paid tribute to her daughter. She said: “My children, Millie and Lucy, were our pride and the love and joy of our lives. It is incomprehensible to us as to how anyone under any such circumstances could deliberately take away such a beautiful little girl as Millie. “Millie will always be remembered as a happy, lively and beautiful little girl and I am proud to have been her mum.”
During the trial, the jury was told how Hall had initially painted a picture of a double suicide attempt, “like a scene from Romeo and Juliet”, in which Millie agreed to “come with Daddy”. In rambling letters, littered with quotes from Shakespeare, he told his wife: “Do not lament Millie, she needed me more. What little love you do show can now be for Lucy [the couple's younger daughter]”. He claimed that Millie had willingly taken one of his antidepressants before falling unconscious from the chloroform. But the jury was told that Hall had admitted that scratches on Millie’s face were caused by his fingernails as he forced the rag over her mouth. He strangled her with his left hand as she lay dying in his arms.
As Hall sobbed, Judge Wide told him that Millie’s murder was a planned and premeditated attack carried out after he discovered “extraordinarily sexually explicit” e-mails be-tween his wife and her lover, who was named last night as James Muir-Little, a divorce lawyer who recently became a deputy district court judge.
Judge Wide told Hall: “It has been said, and it is true, that you will have to live for the rest of your life with what you did. Joanne will have to live for the rest of her life with what you did.”
Two days before he murdered Millie in November last year, Hall, from Irchester, Northamptonshire, used chloroform to kill two of the family’s three cats and hid their bodies in a shed. He placed the dead pets and Millie’s teddy bear next to her lifeless body on the living-room floor before attempting suicide. The next morning his wife, a nurse, came downstairs with Lucy to find him unconscious and bleeding heavily from cuts. Millie was on the floor.
The court was told that Hall suffered an “emotional disturbance” after reading the e-mails between his wife and Mr Muir-Little. Ms Rainsley met the 45-year-old judge in September last year through a sex contact website for married people. Nicholas Atkinson, QC, for the defence, said that Hall discovered the relationship a month later.
From This is London (02 Nov 2006):
CHEATING JUDGE FACES MISCONDUCT CHARGE AFTER VENGEFUL HUSBAND MURDERS OWN DAUGHTER
A judge whose affair with a married woman drove her jealous husband to murder is facing the prospect of a disciplinary inquiry into his behaviour.
James Muir-Little, 45, cheated on his wife with Joanne Hall, 31, after meeting her through an Internet site for ‘swingers’.
Mrs Hall’s husband Gavin is beginning a life sentence for murder after he cold-bloodedly killed the couple’s three-year-old daughter Amelia to punish his wife for the affair.
Hospital radiographer Hall, 33, smothered and strangled Amelia – known as Millie – after giving her anti-depressant pills to make her drowsy.
He then texted his wife, who was asleep upstairs with the couple’s younger daughter Lucy, to say he had taken Millie’s life as revenge for her ‘deceit’.
He also texted Mr Muir-Little to make it clear he was also to blame, then tried unsuccessfully to commit suicide by cutting his wrists. His wife found what was described as “a scene of horror” when she awoke the next morning.
Yesterday Hall trembled and wept in the dock at Northampton Crown Court as a jury unanimously convicted him of murder, rejecting his claims that he was suffering from an “abnormality of mind” after reading “extraordinarily sexually explicit” e-mail exchanges between his wife and Mr Muir-Little.
Hall’s estranged wife Joanne, who is in the process of divorcing him, raised a slight smile as the verdict was delivered.
Judge Charles Wide QC sentenced Hall, of Irchester, Northants, to life imprisonment with a minimum term of 15 years.
He told Hall: “It has been said, and it is true, that you will have to live for the rest of your life with what you did.”
Mr Muir-Little, who lives near Faversham, Kent, with his wife Jane and two daughters, met Mrs Hall twice for sex in hotels after they swapped naked pictures of each other online and exchanged e-mails in which Mrs Hall said she would be a “dirty little slut” for him.
Hall discovered his wife’s affair in October last year but was reassured by her that the fling was over.
He later discovered text messages proving she was still in touch with Mr Muir-Little and knew she was planning to move into rented accommodation with her daughters.
In the early hours of November 29 last year Hall woke Millie, dressed her in her favourite nightdress and gave her pills to make her sleepy, then held a rag soaked in chloroform over her mouth to suffocate her. He then arranged her body under a duvet with her teddy.
Mr Muir-Little, a solicitor specialising in divorce law, qualified as a deputy district judge, sitting in county courts on the south-east circuit, on the day after Millie’s murder.
Yesterday a spokesman for the Office for Judicial Complaints said an investigation into Mr Muir-Little’s behaviour would be considered if a complaint was made about him or if the Lord Chancellor or Lord Chief Justice saw fit to mount their own investigation.
However, such action remains confidential unless and until a judge is found guilty of bringing the profession into disrepute, and the OJC could not confirm whether Mr Muir-Little was under investigation.
If an inquiry is launched, Mr Muir-Little would become the third judge in recent weeks to come under investigation over their private life.
Last month the Department for Constitutional Affairs announced that it was investigating two immigration judges who employed an illegal immigrant as a cleaner.
Brazilian Roselane Driza was jailed last month for blackmailing a female judge, known as ‘Judge J’ who she claimed had been caught on video snorting cocaine. She was also found guilty of stealing two home-made sex tapes from her former lover Judge Mohammed Ilyas Khan, who was also sleeping with Judge J.
The Law Society, which regulates solicitors, said it had no plans to investigate Mr Muir-Little, as the affair was “part of his private life”.
Yesterday Joanne Hall, a cardiac nurse who has reverted to her maiden name of Rainsley, paid tribute to her “beautiful little girl”.
She said: “My children, Millie and Lucy, were our pride and the love and joy of our lives. It is incomprehensible to us as to how anyone under such circumstances could deliberately take away such a beautiful little girl as Millie.
“Millie will always be remembered as a happy, lively and beautiful little girl and I am proud to have been her mum.
“Assisted by my family, as always, my focus now will be to devote attention to Lucy who has mercifully survived this ordeal. It will be my intention to ensure that she carries only the positive memories that we all share of Millie.
“With the huge cloud of the trial over we will hopefully be able to bring back to the forefront of our minds the wonderful times Millie brought us.”
As a lasting tribute to her daughter, Mrs Hall said a cherry blossom tree would now be planted in their village in her memory.