August 2018

Man given life sentence for murdering girlfriend after taking crack cocaine

A man who stabbed his girlfriend 15 times before jumping from a second-floor window on to a car and attacking passersby has been jailed for a minimum of 21 years.

Michael Marler, 37, was given a life sentence on Friday for the murder of Danielle Richardson, 24, following a trial at Manchester crown court.

He had admitted manslaughter but claimed to have no memory of attacking Richardson because he had taken drugs beforehand.

On 13 February Richardson was found face down and covered in blood on the floor of a central Manchester flat.

She had been stabbed in the face and neck and had received 11 stab wounds to her back.

The Oldham couple, who had been in an on/off relationship for three years, were renting the apartment in the Ancoats area of the city while Richardson’s flat was being redecorated.

A jury at Manchester crown court was shown CCTV of the pair arriving at the Shush Apartments, on Swan Street, at around 6pm on 12 February and then going out to the cinema.

Marler told police that he and Richardson bought crack cocaine that evening, having been on a “drugs spree” in the preceding weeks.

Marler said that although he was used to taking crack cocaine, the drugs he took that night had an unusual effect on him.

CCTV footage shown to the jury from around 7.30am on 13 February showed the defendant, covered in blood, jumping eight metres (25ft) from a window on to the roof of a car.

He tried to steal the car before hitting and kicking a number of other vehicles, punching and biting a passerby and attempting to get into another car, the court heard.

When emergency services found Richardson’s body there were no signs of life. The cause of death was determined to be multiple stab wounds.

The court was told that a Home Office pathologist, Dr Philip Lumb, concluded that severe force must have been used to cause the injuries.

The court was told that Richardson attended a police station in 2016 to report that Marler had been violent to her, but she later retracted her complaint.

The same year Marler kept Richardson as a prisoner in her own home for four days, punching her and cutting up her clothes and shoes.

Five days before her death she called police saying she was being attacked by Marler.