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Dublin: 15 °C Saturday 20 July, 2019

NHS nurse who appeared on Britain's Got Talent murdered by boyfriend 'in a fit of rage'

Desmond Sylva was convicted of the murder yesterday.

Simonne Kerr, who was murdered by her boyfriend, pictured with her son Kavele who died from complications of sickle cell disease.
Simonne Kerr, who was murdered by her boyfriend, pictured with her son Kavele who died from complications of sickle cell disease.
Image: PA Images

A FORMER BRITISH army soldier has been convicted of murdering his girlfriend, who had previously appeared on TV show Britain’s Got Talent.

Desmond Sylva (41) was convicted of murdering NHS nurse Simonne Kerr (31) at his home in Battersea in London. 

A month before the killing, the pair had rekindled their relationship which had ended earlier that year.

The UK’s Crown Prosecution Service has said that she was found with more than 70 stab wounds in the bedroom of his home after Sylva phoned the police to confess having “committed a murder” on 15 August last year.

The trial heard that he had attacked her after an argument. 

Kerr had lost her son to a sickle cell disease and her charitable work to raise awareness for the disease had seen her performing on ITV show Britain’s Got Talent. 

Sylva had served two tour in Iraq and one in Kosovo before being discharged from the army on medical grounds. 

In the trial, he claimed that he could not be responsible for his actions because his depression impaired his mental function.

The prosecution accepted that Sylva suffered with depression but was able to show that Sylva’s actions before and after the murder were not indicative of someone whose mental state meant that he did not understand what he was doing.

“This was a shocking attack on a woman who was busy dedicating her life to worthwhile causes. Having lost her six-year-old son to sickle-cell disease, she was campaigning to raise awareness of the illness,” Louise Attrill of the Crown Prosecution Service’s London homicide unit said yesterday.

“The fact that her partner, a man she should have trusted without doubt, could end all of this in a fit of rage makes this even harder to comprehend.”

Sylva’s mental condition did not provide him with any defence to this horrific crime. He chose to pick up a knife and he chose to use it again and again to stab Simonne Kerr. His depression neither explains nor justifies his actions; his anger got the better of him and he simply lost his temper.

Sylva will be sentenced at a later date. 

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About the author:

Rónán Duffy

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