A man murdered his wife a week after they were married before using her money to go travelling around the world.Jamie Starbuck, 36, was jailed for life after admitting murdering and disposing of his wife Debbie’s body before fleeing Britain.
Nottingham Crown Court heard that Starbuck dismembered and burnt his 44-year-old wife’s body in the garden of their home in Old Basford, Nottinghamshire. Judge Michael Stokes QC called it a “grotesque and inhumane act” and the most horrific he had encountered in his long career.
The court heard that prior to meeting her husband, Mrs Starbuck, a self-employed proofreader, had inherited £150,000 following the death of her mother. Mrs Starbuck met her husband via the internet in July 2009 and they married nine months later at West Bridgford register office in April 2010.
It is believed she was killed eight days later.
Mr Starbuck boarded a plane a month after the murder with a one-way ticket to Amsterdam and then spent more than two and half years travelling the world funded by his late wife’s money. Police found he spent nearly £65,000 of her estate on his worldwide trip. The court heard he misled his wife’s family and friends by pretending she was travelling with him. He sent them photographs and emails during his travels.
But after two years, they grew suspicious and contacted the police, expressing concerns that they had not heard from Mrs Starbuck.
Starbuck was arrested at Heathrow airport as he returned from Peru on Jan 19 this year.
Just two days before he was arrested, Starbuck wrote on his online travel blog “Diary of a Misanthrope” from Lima, Peru, saying: “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. I didn’t acknowledge it at the time but apparently I was looking for somewhere to call home, where I wouldn’t be judged or condemned for the sometimes bafflingly bizarre decisions I make; where I’d be accepted.”
Sentencing Starbuck to a minimum term of 30 years, Judge Stokes, said: “On more than 75 homicides, I’m trying hard to think of one as horrific as this. This was a cruel deception to obtain control of her assets. This case shows the categories of wickedness are never closed. You knew she came from a strict Jewish background where cremation is wholly outside their tradition.
“You dismembered her body and burnt it. Even in death you stripped her of all dignity. It is difficult to imagine a more grotesque and inhumane act.”
The court heard that an examination of Starbuck’s laptop also revealed a “confession”, in which he admitted Debbie’s murder. In an unsent email he had written: “I had planned for it to be quick … I never expected you to be so durable.”
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