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Head teacher admits murdering wife and her company director lover in New Year’s Day double killing

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A jealous headteacher is facing life in jail for murdering his estranged wife and her new boyfriend in a New Year’s Day bloodbath at the former marital home.

Rhys Hancock, 40, went berserk and stabbed to death Helen Almey, 39, and Martin Griffiths, 48, after finding out she had found love again.

The new couple died from stab wounds after being found by police at the detached property Ms Almey previously shared with him in Duffield, Derbys.

Mrs Hancock (nee Almey), a graduate of Loughborough University, was well-known in the community and helped out with the neighbourhood watch

Martin Griffiths, 48, also died at the property in the upmarket village of Duffield, near Derby, where the new couple were stabbed to death.

Victim: Mother-of-three Helen Hancock (nee Almey, pictured), 39, was stabbed to death alongside her new partner Martin Griffiths in the early hours of New Year’s Day as it emerged police were at the house days earlier

Rhys Hancock (pictured), the 39-year-old husband of Helen Hancock, will appear at Southern Derbyshire Magistrates Court on Friday morning for the double murder of his wife and Martin Griffiths

Rhys Hancock (pictured), the 39-year-old husband of Helen Hancock, will appear at Southern Derbyshire Magistrates Court on Friday morning for the double murder of his wife and Martin Griffiths

Derbyshire Police confirmed that it had referred itself to Britain's police watchdog the IOPC in the wake of the deaths 'due to contact between Mrs Hancock and officers prior to the incident' - police are pictured during their investigations on Thursday January 2 in Duffield, Derbyshire

Derbyshire Police confirmed that it had referred itself to Britain’s police watchdog the IOPC in the wake of the deaths ‘due to contact between Mrs Hancock and officers prior to the incident’ – police are pictured during their investigations on Thursday January 2 in Duffield, Derbyshire

Today Hancock, of Etwall, Derbys, pleaded guilty at Derby Crown Court to two counts of murder via video link and was told he would be sentenced at a later date.

PE teacher Ms Almey and Mr Griffiths, a company director of a marketing firm, were discovered in a pool of blood at the £400,000 property on New Zealand Lane just after 4am.

Despite the best efforts of paramedics they were both pronounced dead at the scene.

Hancock, who has three children, aged nine, four and three, with his wife was arrested after he dialled 999 himself.

Estranged: Helen Hancock (nee Almey) was found dead at the home she once shared with her estranged headteacher husband, Rhys Hancock (pictured together)

Estranged: Helen Hancock (nee Almey) was found dead at the home she once shared with her estranged headteacher husband, Rhys Hancock (pictured together)

Hours after the tragedy Claire Griffiths (right) changed her cover photo on Facebook to a picture of her with her estranged husband in happier times. They are believed to have separated in 2019

Hours after the tragedy Claire Griffiths (right) changed her cover photo on Facebook to a picture of her with her estranged husband in happier times. They are believed to have separated in 2019

Investigation: A double murder probe underway in Duffield after police had been called to the scene at 4am

Investigation: A double murder probe underway in Duffield after police had been called to the scene at 4am

A court heard he had travelled all the way to his former home after discovering on Boxing Day his wife had started a relationship with another man.

Ms Almey, who had walked out on Hancock just a few months earlier, was stabbed with such ferocity the knife’s handle went into her stomach.

Prosecutor Jeanette Stevenson said at an earlier hearing: “They had separated some time ago.

“His mother called 999 and informed the police that he had gone back to his former home.

Asked about the tragedy Mrs Griffiths, 40, said today: 'Absolutely devastated for me, my children and all involved

Asked about the tragedy Mrs Griffiths, 40, said today: ‘Absolutely devastated for me, my children and all involved

A cordon in place at the property (pictured) where Helen and her new partner were murdered

A cordon in place at the property (pictured) where Helen and her new partner were murdered

“He found out on Boxing Day that his wife was seeing another man.

“He left his mothers address, where his children were also staying, with two knives. His mother said he felt like killing them.

“The police tried to contact Mrs Hancock but they could only reach her answerphone.

“Police received another 999 call from Mr Hancock saying he had murdered his wife and that the children were safe at his mother’s house.

Police combing the street for evidence that will link the killer to the scene where a new couple died on New Year's Day

Police combing the street for evidence that will link the killer to the scene where a new couple died on New Year’s Day

Officers were on ladders inspecting the roof and pulling up drains in Duffield as they look for clues and perhaps a murder weapon

Officers were on ladders inspecting the roof and pulling up drains in Duffield as they look for clues and perhaps a murder weapon

Officers were on ladders inspecting the roof and pulling up drains in Duffield as they look for clues and perhaps a murder weapon 

Helen, who started using her maiden name Almey again, split with her husband Rhys in 2019

Helen, who started using her maiden name Almey again, split with her husband Rhys in 2019

“Officers at the scene found Mr Griffiths dead when they arrived. They tried to resuscitate Mrs Hancock for 15 minutes before stopping.

“Mr Hancock was arrested at the scene and then questioned about the murders and before being charged.”

Devastated family members previously paid tribute to “beautiful and bubbly” Ms Almey and adventure-mad Mr Griffiths.

Ms Almey’s family said in a statement: “The family are devastated at the loss of Helen who was a lovely, beautiful, friendly, bubbly and social person.

Helen was well-known and much loved in her village, where many said they were bereft for her children

Helen was well-known and much loved in her village, where many said they were bereft for her children

Family: Neighbours said Mrs Hancock (nee Almey) had recently started a relationship after separating from Mr Hancock, who is the father of her children, aged nine, seven and four

Family: Neighbours said Mrs Hancock (nee Almey) had recently started a relationship after separating from Mr Hancock, who is the father of her children, aged nine, seven and four 

Forensic officers at the scene in Duffield, Derbyshire after two people were found dead

Forensic officers at the scene in Duffield, Derbyshire after two people were found dead

“We would like to thank people for allowing us privacy at this most difficult of times.”

Relatives of Mr Griffiths, who lived in Derby, added: “Martin was a lovely dad, husband, son, brother and uncle, who had a passion for adventure, running and a love of animals.

“He enjoyed travelling the world, mountain climbing and spending time with his two children.

“He will be greatly missed. We would also like to ask that people respect our privacy and allow us space to grieve as we attempt to come to terms with his death.”

Neighbours had previously spoke of how Ms Almey had been “finally getting her life back together” after kicking her husband out for good.

They also told how they heard screams in the street of “They’re dead. They’re dead. What have you f******g done?” at around 3am on New Year’s Day

Derbyshire Police previously said the force had referred itself to the police watchdog over contact they had with Ms Almey prior to her death.

It is understood officers were called to her semi-detached home over the Christmas period after she rang 999 for help.

Chief Superintendent Hayley Barnett, of Derbyshire Police, said: “The thoughts of everyone at Derbyshire Constabulary are with the family and friends of Mrs Hancock and Mr Griffiths.

“Our thoughts are also with the Duffield community, which is understandably shocked by this incident.”

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