'Horrible, Sickening Bully' Jailed for 22 Years

Jeffrey Clarke murdered girlfriend by burning her alive

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Perivale man Jeffrey Clarke has been jailed for a minimum of 22 years for burning his girlfriend to death after a prolonged spell of domestic violence against her.

Amanda Beresford died a month after Clarke, a 42 year old bus driver, doused her in white spirit and set her alight after flying into a jealous rage. He had found out that she had spent time in the company of another man in Ealing.

Last July, Amanda was sat on her bed at their shared home in Haymill Close, Perivale when Clarke deliberately set her alight. She suffered 60% full depth burns and died in Chelsea and Westminster hospital over a month later.

A family member said, "As long as I live I will never be able to forget the image of Amanda lying in her hospital bed with such horrific injuries; her stunning good looks so cruelly taken from her. Clarke always thought he was so clever and would get away with this, just as he got away with beating Amanda for so long. Now he's got the next 22 years to come to terms with the truth; he's not very clever at all, just a horrible, sickening bully."

She had been the victim of persistent domestic violence with friends, family and neighbours noticing Amanda regularly appearing with new bruises and marks. They repeatedly asked Amanda to go to the police, but Amanda was too afraid of her abuser.

Clarke was arrested on two occasions in March 2010, when friends and family reported his violence to the police but on both occasions Amanda declined to press charges and the abuse continued.

Her murder came about after Clarke found Amanda in the company of another man earlier in the day. Clarke had tracked her down and caught her, apparently enjoying herself, without him. He took her home to Perivale and murdered her. Neighbours heard her screams before flames were seen though the upstairs windows. She briefly regained consciousness in hospital after paramedics sedated her. Clarke also received minor burns due to his actions.

Amanda had lived at 224 Haymill Close in Perivale for more than 15 years. She met Clarke in April 2009; he moved in with her a short time later.

Amanda had two children from an earlier relationship, an 18 year old daughter with autism and a 12 year old son. Her mother and family remain devastated by the appalling manner of her death.

A police spokesperson said, "Amanda's death illustrates, all too clearly, why those who suffer domestic violence, or those who suspect it is happening, must take positive action to prevent the abuse from escalating. We urge victims and those who know of such violence to contact police."

April 21, 2011

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