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A jilted cruise ship singer who raped his wife in a knifepoint attack which proved fatal was jailed for 16 years today.
Bob Marley impersonator Melvyn Edwards, 59, had been told wife Juliet was leaving him, and also claimed to have been unhappy about wife Juliet slimming down from a size 18 to a size ten after embarking on a fitness regime, and would repeatedly question her about the name of a man she befriended.
He subsequently crept into her bedroom in the middle of the night, forced her to have sex with him at knifepoint and then, as she turned from him, her neck caught on the blade - just hours after she confirmed she was leaving him for good.
Afterwards he rang 999 and falsely claimed to have found Juliet fatally injured on the bedroom floor and was heard to say 'easy baby, stay still, stay still’ as she lay dying.
The mother-of-three, a medical practice manageress, died a short time later in hospital from her wounds.
The couple’s 21-year marriage had crumbled after Edwards discovered Juliet, 48, was two timing him at home in Manchester whilst he was 4,000 miles away, entertaining holidaymakers on board cruise liners in the Caribbean.
Sentencing Judge Andrew Gilbart QC, told Edwards: 'When you were away working abroad, you discovered that all was not well with the relationship.
'As can happen, she was keen on having some independence. She sought friendship elsewhere, including in an affair with another man. You were understandably upset.
'But let us be clear about this. Many men and women have to endure the discovery that their husband, wife or partner is no longer content with the relationship they have.
'Many are jealous or unhappy. But what the law cannot and will not permit is the use of violence, which is what you used.
'You went back to her house in the early hours of the morning, let yourself in, armed yourself with a knife, and went upstairs to insist that you had sex with her.
'In my judgement she died because that blade entered her neck as she sought to turn away from your sexual advances. In other words she died as the result of a rape at knifepoint by you in her own bedroom.
'You then left her to bleed to death before returning and eventually trying too late to put right what you had done by summoning help. Had you sought help earlier, one cannot know, but she might well have lived.'
During an earlier row he had also raped her, but she was too frightened to report it to police.
It emerged in the hours before the killing itself Mrs Edwards had been recorded on her husband’s mobile phone saying: 'At this moment in time I don’t feel we are going to get back together.
'It’s probably more what I want than what you want. I think it’s better that you take your things.'
At Manchester Crown Court, Edwards was convicted of rape and manslaughter following a week long trial but was cleared of murder. He claimed the killing had been carried out by a stranger and his wife was his 'soulmate' and 'the love of his life'.
The jury was told the couple’s marriage started to fail after Edwards returned from a stint working on a Caribbean cruise ship in April last year.
He claimed to be unhappy about his wife slimming down, and eventually became suspicious about why his wife’s phone bill was ‘so high’. He then beat her up and swung a baseball bat until it broke on the bed.
Following a later argument after a night out at a concert, Mr Edwards is said to have bitten his wife on the cheek and raped her.
Despite the violence the couple continued sharing their home in South Manchester and planned to go to the Caribbean island of St Kitts in June of last year.
But she decided not to go because she feared for her safety at the hands of her husband. Edwards went to the Caribbean alone but returned to the UK two days before his wife was killed.
When he arrived home, she refused to let him stay saying she no longer trusted him and that the marriage was over.
The following day Mrs Edwards called a meeting with her husband in which she told him 'there was no prospect of reconciliation' in a 'final confirmation' of the end of the relationship.
Hours later, at 4.10am on July 23, Edwards let himself into the house while his wife was asleep and fatally attacked her.
In his 999 call which was played to the jury he said: 'I was at a party with some friends and I just came home, well I came to my wife’s house, she’s on the floor and there’s blood all over the place.
'I think she’s probably been cut or stabbed or something, I don’t know. I can’t tell for sure but it seems like there must be a wound somewhere because she’s in a lot of blood. I don’t know who the attacker was.'
Mr Andrew Thomas QC prosecuting said: 'The defendant had let himself into the house in the middle of the night, forced his wife to have intercourse with him, and then stabbed her.
'It was perhaps an act of punishment, coming as it did a few hours after she told him it was over.'
Mrs Edwards’ blood was found on a kitchen knife recovered from a drawer in the property.
Outside court her family said 'No sentence in the world could ever give us back our mother. The sentence of 16 years passed today is of no comfort to us and we are simply left numb.
'It does however provide some form of closure for us, her children, and the rest of the family in so far as everyone now knows the truth of what Melvyn Edwards did to our mother. We can now finally allow our mum to rest in peace.'
Det Chief Insp Joanne Rawlinson of Greater Manchester said: 'This is a very sad and tragic case that has understandably left a family truly devastated.
'During their relationship, Juliet was raped and suffered a number of domestic violence incidents.
'She found the strength to leave her abusive relationship and end her marriage, making it clear that there was no chance of reconciliation.
'This unfortunately led to a further rape and her unnecessary death and reflects the kind of controlling and violent person Melvyn Edwards is.
'I hope this sentencing can go some way to helping Mrs Edwards' loved ones get their lives back on track and feeling that some kind of justice has been served.'