Husband killed bride then embarked on world jaunt with her cash

By Andy Dolan

Judge Stokes said Starbuck was guilty of a grotesque and inhumane act. He added: On more than 75 homicides, I'm trying hard to think of one as horrific as this. Photo / Getty Images
Judge Stokes said Starbuck was guilty of a grotesque and inhumane act. He added: On more than 75 homicides, I'm trying hard to think of one as horrific as this. Photo / Getty Images

Starbuck, who brazenly charted his globetrotting adventures in a blog entitled Diary of a Misanthrope was yesterday starting a life sentence after admitting the murder of his 44-year-old wife.

Mrs Starbuck was last seen alive six days after their wedding in April 2010. Her body has never been found and it is believed that Starbuck killed his wife then dismembered her body before burning it at their home.

Judge Michael Stokes QC said it was one of the most horrific murder cases he had dealt with and ordered Starbuck to serve at least 30 years before being considered for parole. Divorcee Starbuck married Debbie Cooper within nine months of meeting her on the internet. They lived in a rented house in Old Basford, Nottingham.

The self-employed proof-reader, who had no children, had inherited £150,000 a few years before meeting Starbuck.

Concerns about Mrs Starbucks whereabouts were not raised until two years after the wedding when one of her friends contacted police to say that he had not heard from her.

Officers discovered her passport had expired and that money had been transferred from Mrs Starbucks account to her husbands. He knew her passwords after setting up an online account for her.

Detectives were able to prove that her husband spent almost £65,000 of his dead wife's money to fund his travels abroad.

Starbuck, a one-time amateur photographer and cleaner, was arrested at Heathrow Airport in January as he stepped off a flight from Brazil. He was found to have two of Debbies bank cards in his wallet. An examination of his laptop revealed a confession, in which he admitted Debbies murder. It read: I had planned for it to be quick??I never expected you to be so durable.

The 36-year-old fled on a one-way ticket to Amsterdam within a month of the murder in April 2010. He spent the next 31 months travelling the globe, sending updates to his wife's family from her own email account to make it appear she was enjoying the trip of a lifetime.

Bizarrely, he also charted his adventures which took in 32 countries across five continents in a blog which gave no mention of his wife.

In his final post from the Peruvian capital, Lima, two days before flying back he wrote: "I am literally leaving paradise to face my destiny in England."

"I left the UK a long time ago in search of well, in all honesty I was running away. From life and responsibility; justice and my past."

He said he had been searching for a place where I wouldn't be judged or condemned for the sometimes bafflingly bizarre decisions I make.

At Nottingham Crown Court, Judge Stokes said Starbuck was guilty of a grotesque and inhumane act. He added: "On more than 75 homicides, I'm trying hard to think of one as horrific as this."

"This case shows the categories of wickedness are never closed."

Detective Chief Inspector Rob Griffin, of Nottinghamshire Police said the investigation had been extremely complex.

Debbie's sister, Beth Jones, said, Starbucks deception had been impossible to bear. She added: "The unbelievable and shocking fact that she is dead, has been dead for so long and we didn't even know."

"For nearly three years we were living with the illusion that she was alive and happy and travelling around the world with Jamie."

"The thought that her bones lay scattered, burnt and lonely on a remote hillside or in a dark wood somewhere leaves us feeling desolate."

- Daily Mail

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