Man jailed for life after murdering ex-wife with axe over sale of their family home

·2-min read
Stephen Booth
Stephen Booth murdered his ex-wife after he discovered the sale of their family home would soon be completed. (Greater Manchester Police/SWNS)

A man has been jailed for life after murdering his ex-wife after he discovered the sale of their family home would soon be completed.

Stephen Booth, 64, struck his ex-wife Susan Booth from behind with an axe at her home on Hillside Avenue in Oldham, Greater Manchester, on 4 May.

The 62-year-old had just returned home after completing her shift as a healthcare assistant at Royal Oldham Hospital.

Booth, a builder, called the police shortly afterwards and confessed to killing her.

Greater Manchester Police (GMP) said Booth decided to kill his ex-wife after he received a call from his solicitor about the sale of the couple’s family home, which he built and where he still lived.

The lawyer told him the purchase would be completed in a matter of days for £450,000, the force said.

Later that day, Booth travelled to Hillside Avenue, where his former wife had moved following their separation in 2017.

She suffered catastrophic head injuries after Booth attacked her from behind without warning. 

She was rushed to Royal Oldham Hospital – her place of work – and was pronounced dead a short time later.

After calling the police, Booth was arrested at his address and taken to Ashton-Under-Lyne police station for questioning.

He told detectives of the events leading up to the killing, stating that he hadn't seen his ex-wife for two years before attacking her. 

He also told officers the sale meant he would have nowhere to live. 

Booth was sentenced to life, with a minimum of 22 years, at Manchester Crown Court on Tuesday.

Susan Booth's family paid tribute to her in a statement, saying: "Mum was the epitome of caring, both in her professional and personal life.

"If you knew her, you would have known that nothing was too much trouble, and she would help anyone who needed it. 

"She was dedicated to her three grandchildren, who were the light of her life and will be deeply missed by all of us."

Senior investigating officer Duncan Thorpe, of GMP's Serious Crime Division, said: "This was a tragic event where a family has lost a cherished mother and grandmother.

"It is a complex and saddening case, and our specially trained officers are continuing to support the Booth family. Our thoughts and sympathies remain with them."

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