‘Fabulous daughter’ stabbed to death and found next to body of abusive boyfriend

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A jealous and violent boyfriend stabbed his partner to death before killing himself, an inquest was told.

John Lee Kirwin stabbed Nichola Jayne Campbell several times at a bedsit in Harpurhey, Greater Manchester, before taking an overdose of painkillers.

A knife bearing Kirwin's fingerprints was found next to the 30-year-old's body.

An inquest held at Manchester Coroner’s Court yesterday concluded Nichola's death in December 2017 was the result of unlawful killing.

Described as a "fabulous daughter, sister and aunty," Nichola – known by family and friends as 'Niki' – had endured an "extremely volatile" relationship with Kirwin since 2011. Both had a history of drug and mental health issues.

Mum Jayne Humphreys feared her daughter was being physically abused after Nichola suffered several injuries, including a "big black eye".

Kirwin was never reported to the police, but Nichola told her GP she was a victim of domestic abuse.

Mrs Humphreys believed the couple had split up when her daughter moved with her to Scotland in February 2017.

But their relationship secretly resumed five months later after Nichola returned to Salford.

"I didn’t know," Ms Humphreys told the court.

"The last time I had contact with her was on December 15. I asked her if she was coming home for her Sunday dinner. She told me that she was and that she’d like a jacket spud and cheesy beans."

Mrs Humphreys said Nichola was a "fabulous daughter" who had a great sense of humour.

In a statement read at the inquest, she said: "She was very close to her sisters and a great aunt to her sisters' children.

"I am not sure that the reality of her death has sunk in yet. I still feel in shock and I miss her terribly."

The court was told Nichola had been staying with Kirwin in a bedsit at Step N Stones in Beech Mount, Harpurhey, which houses men with learning difficulties and mental health problems.

GMP senior investigating officer, Duncan Thorp, said witnesses reported seeing the pair rowing at a pub on December 19 over Nichola’s suspected relationship with another man.

She was last seen alive on the morning of December 20 when she told a manager at Step N Stones that Kirwin had locked her out of his room.

The bodies of the couple were discovered inside the bedsit two days later at around 10.10am. The flat door had been barricaded shut, the inquest heard.

Police found Nichola with multiple stab wounds. Kirwin appeared uninjured, but pathologists later said died from painkiller toxicity.

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"It was ascertained that John Lee Kirwin was responsible for Niki's death," Mr Thorp told the court.

"The main evidence was the murder weapon, a knife, found next to her body.

"We found John Lee Kirwin’s fingerprints on the weapon."

He added that officers had ruled out third-party involvement.

The findings of a domestic homicide review were also shared with the court. The review found Kirwin abused drugs, mainly cocaine, as well as having a history of domestic violence against ex-partners and children.

Nichola had attended Salford Royal A&E in February 2017 and seen a GP four times in the year of her death, confiding during an appointment in July she had previously been a victim of domestic abuse, the inquest heard.

She added that the relationship had ended five months earlier.

Nichola saw the same GP for a mental health review in October 2017, where she said her head was like a "messy drawer", and that she felt irritable and paranoid that her boyfriend was cheating on her.

If you have been affected by issues of domestic violence or coercive control you can call Refuge's 24-Hour National Domestic Abuse Helpline for free. The number is 0808 2000 247

  • Knife Crime
  • Courts
  • Murder

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