A MAN who told a passing police officer “I want to hand myself in – I’ve just killed my wife and daughter” has been sentenced to life in jail.
Mrs Justice Carr at Liverpool Crown Court ordered William Owen, 55, of Home Farm Road, Knowsley Village to serve 23 years for murdering Sharon Hayter and Stephanie Owen.
She said to Owen: “You will leave prison an elderly man, if you leave prison at all.”
The battered bodies of Owen’s long-term partner, Sharon, 54 and his daughter Stephanie, 29, were found at the family home on November 28 last year.
They’d suffered several severe blows to the head. Owen claimed to have used a hammer but the weapon used has never been found.
Neighbours reported hearing screaming coming from the house around 7.30am on the day of the grisly discoveries.
Later that morning, Owen went to Huyton police station and confessed the killings to a Police and Community Support officer outside. He later made further confessions to other staff.
The house in Home Farm Road was searched – Sharon’s body was found downstairs in a chair. Stephanie was found on the floor of an upstairs bedroom.
Owen was arrested and has been in custody since the incident.
Gary Simpson, senior Crown Prosecutor with the Crown Prosecution Service Mersey-Cheshire, said: “This was a brutal attack but we may never know the real reason why William Owen killed Sharon and Stephanie on that day.
“The court heard that the couple, who’d been together 30 years, had a stormy relationship but Owen claimed to be devoted to his daughter, who had learning difficulties.
“Owen confessed to the murders within hours of them taking place and he pleaded guilty in court, saving Sharon’s wider family the ordeal of a trial.
“What happened in the lead up to the killings is still a mystery which is difficult for the wider family to come to terms with but the brutality of the murders is clear.
“The work of the Crown Prosecution Service and Merseyside Police has brought William Owen to justice and we hope that will bring some comfort to Sharon and Stephanie’s relatives.”
Following the sentencing Sharon and Stephanie's family said in a statement:"Although William Owen has finally admitted his guilt and been sentenced for murdering our sister Sharon and niece Stephanie, we are still in the dark as to his motive.
"Sharon was a kind and generous woman, who would always put others first and devoted her life to the care and wellbeing of her daughter Stephanie.
"Stephanie was a young, beautiful woman, who loved to sing and play music. She also had a passion for collecting things.
"William Owen painted a bleak picture of his life with Sharon and Stephanie. Throughout this sad time he has cynically tried to proportion blame for Stephanie's cowardly murder on our sister Sharon. Everyone who knew Sharon was sickened by his cowardly and outrageous lies.
"The family are relieved that the truth has finally come out.
"The family will never forgive or forget the senseless and brutal murder of Sharon and Stephanie. They will be greatly missed by all who knew them.
"We would like to thank the CPS, Merseyside Police, forensics team and police liaison officers for all their support and for their tireless efforts to ensure that the truth was finally placed before the court.
"The family would respectfully ask that we are left alone to grieve and remember our sister Sharon and loving niece Stephanie."