VIDEO: CCTV shows the moment killer Terrence Armer used an axe to break into victim's flat (From The Westmorland Gazette)
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VIDEO: CCTV shows the moment killer Terrence Armer used an axe to break into victim's flat
4:14pm Wednesday 20th June 2012 in News
A DISABLED widower is likely to die in prison after being jailed for life today for murdering a Kendal woman by setting her on fire.
At Carlisle Crown Court the judge, Mr Justice Irwin, ruled that Terrence Armer, 61, should serve at least 27 years in prison before being considered for parole - something the court heard was likely to be 'academic' in view of his age and poor state of health.
Armer had claimed that he loved 35-year-old Stacey Mackie 'like a daughter' and had done nothing to hurt her.
But a jury took less than two hours to find him guilty of murdering her.
The judge said Armer had been convicted on 'overwhelming evidence' of a 'truly terrible act'.
He said it was clear that Armer felt he had 'rights' over his victim and that he had 'wanted more than friendship' from her.
He said that after she ended their friendship he had formed 'the dreadful intention' to kill her in a way that he knew would cause her great suffering.
The judge praised the dignity of Ms Mackie's family who had been in court throughout the trial.
He said he hoped they would eventually realise that Armer was 'rare in his wickedness' and that 'not all people' are like him.
He also commended two police officers for the work they did at the scene of the incident - PC Jane Collier who comforted Ms Mackie and held her 'by the unburned skin of two fingers' - and PC Robert Kerr, who looked after Armer after the fire.
"Sometimes we ask a lot of our young police officers," he said.
Speaking after sentencing, Detective Chief Inspector Mike Forrester, senior investigating officer in the case, said: “Armer inflicted an horrific attack on an innocent young woman and today, we have seen justice served.
“Stacey’s family have been left devastated and our thoughts continue to be with them.
"Armer has shown no remorse and has consistently lied throughout his police interviews and his trial in court – despite the compelling evidence against him.
“His decision to plead not guilty meant that Stacey’s family had to go through the ordeal of a full trial where they had to relive the cruelty that led to her death.
"I hope that today’s result will help them as they try to rebuild their lives.
“I know that this case will also have a lasting effect on the police officers who went to the scene that night.
"I want to thank each and every one of them for the compassion and comfort they showed Stacey, and the commitment they have shown since to help secure this conviction.
“Fortunately, murders are exceptionally rare in Cumbria but this case demonstrates how dedicated Cumbria Constabulary and the Crown Prosecution Service are to getting justice and putting dangerous offenders behind bars.”
Peter Kelly, senior crown prosecutor at the Crown Prosecution Service, added: "This was a terrible, shocking murder which has left Stacey’s family and friends devastated.
“We may never know exactly what prompted him to go round to Stacey’s flat that night or exactly what happened in the flat in those few minutes after he arrived.
"What we do know is that he carried out a premeditated murder by deliberately pouring white spirit over her and setting fire to her.
"Through piecing together all the strands of evidence gathered by the police we have been able to prove to the jury that this is the only explanation for what happened and that he is therefore guilty of murder.
“It is difficult to imagine a more calculating and distressing crime and during the trial Stacey’s family have had to relive the harrowing circumstances of what happened.
"Despite all the overwhelming evidence against him Terrence Armer claimed the fire had nothing to do with him and protested his innocence throughout this trial.
"He made no attempt to call the emergency services on that night and has shown no remorse since.
"However, the jury have seen through his lies and brought him to justice today.
“I hope his conviction for murder will bring Stacey’s family some measure of justice and I extend my sincerest sympathies to them.”
- The headline of a report published earlier this year referred to victim Stacey Mackie as being Terrence Armer’s ‘ex-partner.’ The report also described Miss Mackie as ‘his former girlfriend.’ This was based on comments made by people who were acquainted with the two. During Armer’s trial, Carlisle Crown Court heard that Miss Mackie had never thought of him as anything more than ‘just a friend.’ We apologise for any distress the original headline and report may have caused.