Police have released harrowing footage of a 999 call to report one of the murders committed by beast Robert Trigg.
The 52-year-old was found guilty of killing two former girlfriends, five years apart, following a long campaign for justice by his second victim’s family has been jailed for life with a minimum term of 25 years.
Judge Mrs Justice Simler said Trigg was responsible for causing the two women’s “senseless deaths”, and then lied about the circumstances.
Unemployed Trigg murdered Susan Nicholson, 52, in 2011, five years after he killed mother-of-four Caroline Devlin, 35, in her bed.
Foul play was ruled out following both deaths in Worthing, West Sussex, and Trigg, who has a history of domestic abuse against women, was initially treated as a bereaved partner rather than a suspect.
The death of Ms Devlin, whose body was found by one of her children on Mother’s Day 2006, was originally recorded as being due to natural causes, an aneurysm, following a post-mortem examination. And an inquest held in 2011 into Ms Nicholson’s death ruled she died accidentally after Trigg claimed he inadvertently rolled on to her in his sleep while they were on a sofa.
But Ms Nicholson’s parents refused to accept their daughter died accidentally and they launched a five-year campaign to challenge the inquest’s conclusion.
Ms Nicholson’s father, Peter Skelton, said they hired their own experts, including a pathologist and barrister, to prove she was murdered because the police would not listen.
His motivation for pursuing the case stemmed from his deep suspicions over how a heavily-built man like Trigg could roll over and suffocate his daughter on a narrow sofa.
Mr Skelton’s persistence finally paid off as he saw Trigg, of Park Crescent, Worthing, convicted on Wednesday of his daughter’s murder and Ms Devlin’s manslaughter following a 10-day trial.
As he was led into court in handcuffs to be sentenced, Trigg said cryptically: “Isaiah 50, verse 11. They should be in here, not me.”
Sentencing Trigg on Thursday, Mrs Justice Simler told him: “The grief and sadness of these two families will never leave them.
“These were senseless deaths and nothing can now restore their lives, nor can any part of this sentencing process restore them either. What you, the defendant, will do, I hope, is reflect on his role in causing these senseless deaths.”
Ms Nicholson used to work at the exclusive Coutts bank and was promoted to the stocks and shares department before leaving banking to start a family. She had two sons.
In a victim impact statement, Ms Nicholson’s mother, Elizabeth Skelton, said the family wanted answers over why she and her husband, both in their 80s, were able to bring Trigg’s case to court and not the police.
She recalled hearing the news of her daughter’s death, saying: “It was beyond belief. It was hard to accept that she was no longer with us. She wasn’t just our daughter but our friend as well.”
She said the fight for justice had caused “mental torture” which triggered a mild heart attack in her and caused depression in Ms Nicholson’s brother. In her statement, Mrs Skelton added: “Our fight still goes on. We want answers to unexplained questions and why it was that the police weren’t able to bring it to court when us, Sue’s parents in our 80s, managed to.”
In a separate victim impact statement, Ms Devlin’s son, Brandyn McKenna, said: “Our final message is that we don’t want to think of our mother as dead and her memory will live on in our hearts forever.”
Robert Trigg claimed girlfriend Susan Nicholson accidentally died after he rolled on top of her as they slept on the sofa in 2011.
A 999 call made by a neighbour the morning after her death records Trigg claiming Miss Nicholson was suffocated during the night.
Miss Nicholson – who had suffered months of violence at Trigg’s hands – was officially found to have died accidentally as a result of asphyxiation.
But the case was dramatically reopened years later after Miss Nicholson’s father, Peter Skelton, refused to believe the official explanation that her death was an accident.
A 999 recording released by police today records neighbour Hannah Cooper’s frantic phone call, as Trigg calmly spins the lies of her ‘accidental death’ which he would stick to for years.
In the call, neighbour Miss Cooper tells the operator: “I was in bed asleep and he phoned me just now saying he think’s Sue’s dead so I came down.”
Trigg is then heard in the background telling her the story he would stick to for six years.
Miss Cooper told the operator: “He thinks it could be suffocation… they both crashed out on their sofa last night. Rob woke up with his head at one end but Sue’s face was where the cushions joined”.
Five years before Miss Nicholson’s murder, Trigg let the children of his first victim Caroline Devlin discover their 35-year-old mother’s body at their home in Worthing in 2006.
Similarities were highlighted about the two cases during the trial, including the revelation Trigg failed to dial 999 in either case after the women’s bodies were found.
Ms Devlin’s death was put down to natural causes, but re-investigated after questions were raised by Miss Nicholson’s family.
Dr Cary found her death was caused by a blow to the back of her head.