Readers like you keep news free for everyone.

More than 5,000 readers have already pitched in to keep free access to The Journal.

For the price of one cup of coffee each week you can help keep paywalls away.

Support us today
Not now
Wednesday 4 October 2023 Dublin: 13°C
Wiltshire police
# Murder
Teenager who murdered his girlfriend after she dumped him is sentenced to life in UK court
He returned to school after the murder and the girl’s father discovered her four hours later.

A SCHOOLBOY STABBED his former girlfriend to death then placed her hand on the knife in her neck to make it look as though she had killed herself, a court has heard.

Thomas Griffiths, now 18, stabbed Ellie Gould to death at her home in Calne in Wiltshire on May 3 after she ended their relationship, and was sentenced to life in prison yesterday.

He left the 17-year-old lying in a pool of blood on the kitchen floor, where her father discovered her four hours later.

After the murder, Griffiths returned to school and sought support from a matron as well as sending messages to Ellie’s friends to say he could not get hold of her.

Ellie’s family and friends packed the public galleries of a court room on Friday, with a video link set up in another court room for others to watch the proceedings.

Opening the case for the first time, Richard Smith QC said Ellie and Griffiths, of Derry Hill, Wiltshire had been in a relationship since January 2019.

“However, in a message sent to friends on social media at 6pm on 2 May, Ellie announced that she had split from this defendant and that he had not taken the separation well,” Smith said.

“Earlier that same day, Ellie had told her friends that she felt suffocated by Griffith’s attentions.”

Smith said Griffiths had been driven to school on the morning of May 3 by his mother but he had “no intention” of going.

He took a bus home before driving to Ellie’s family home, arriving there at 10.58am and leaving at 11.51am.

“Griffiths became angry, perhaps by Ellie’s continued rejection of him and he attacked her,” Smith said.

“A post-mortem examination indicated that Ellie was first incapacitated by pressure having been applied to her neck.

“Thereafter, multiple knife wounds were inflicted. There are at least 13 wounds inflicted, with the knife focused mainly around the area of the left neck.

“The knife that was used to kill Ellie was one that was taken from the family kitchen.”

Smith said Griffiths had attempted to clean up the murder scene with cloths he later hid in a wood near his home.

Blood-staining on an apron suggests Griffiths wiped the knife before placing it back in Ellie’s neck.

“The defendant must have placed his victim’s own hand on the handle of the knife,” Mr Smith said.

“No doubt to make it look as though she, Ellie, had inflicted the wounds on herself.”

wiltshire p 2 Wiltshire Police Ellie Gould Wiltshire Police

At 11.45am, a text was sent from Ellie’s phone telling a friend that she was not going to school that day.

After the murder, Griffiths drove home and told a neighbour he had self-harmed, with deep scratches to his neck.

“In truth, the injuries to the defendant’s neck and to his hand were nothing to do with self-infliction but very much more likely the product of his young victim having fought for her life as she was attacked,” Mr Smith said.

Sasha Wass QC, representing Griffiths, said he was an exceptional student who had been made a prefect shortly before the murder.

He swam at county and international level, and played rugby at county level for Chippenham Rugby Club, she said.

Wass read a letter written to the court by Griffiths, in which he apologised for his actions.

He wrote: “I have truly let myself down and I hope one day I will be able to explain to myself and others why this happened.”

Mr Justice Garnham jailed Griffiths, who admitted murder, for life and ordered him to serve a minimum of 12 years and six months in prison.

“The pain and terror she must have suffered in her last moments, as your frenzied knife attack continued, is beyond imagining,” the judge told Griffiths.

“Not able to face up to what you had done, you then attempted to cover up this dreadful crime.

“First, and most chillingly, you left Ellie on the floor with the knife embedded in her throat and her left hand around the handle of the knife.

“I have no doubt that you arranged the scene in order that it would appear to those who found Ellie that she had been killed, not by another person, but instead by her own hand or in some terrible accident.”