Ex-soldier, 41, hacked his wife, 31, to death with a Gurkha knife

Ex-soldier, 41, who hacked his estranged wife, 31, to death with a Gurkha knife in front of horrified neighbours he told ‘she was winding me up’ is jailed for more than 18 years

  • Craig Woodhall’s machete attack on his 31-year-old wife Victoria outside home 
  • Woodhall struck wife with multiple blows from a machete in front of neighbours 
  • He was jailed for life by a judge with a minimum term of 18 years and six months 

An Army veteran who hacked his estranged wife to death in the street with a Gurkha knife and then told horrified witnesses ‘she deserved it, she’d been winding me up all day’, was today sentenced to 18-and-a-half years in prison. 

Craig Woodhall’s machete attack on his 31-year-old wife Victoria outside their home in Barnsley after she left him for another man was witnessed by neighbours and two children.  

Woodhall struck his wife with multiple blows from a kukri machete, stepping away at times and coming back to inflict more terrible injuries before driving off.

Craig Woodhall’s machete attack on his 31-year-old wife Victoria outside their home in Barnsley after she left him for another man was witnessed by neighbours and two children

Judge Jeremy Richardson said the whole incident was caught on CCTV but the ‘chilling’ footage was too disturbing to be shown in court.

He told the defendant he ‘brutally and relentlessly stabbed her with the kukri,’ saying she was lying on the ground, ‘defenceless against the ferocity of your attack with the murderous weapon’.

The judge said the ‘unrelenting brutality’ of the attack was one of the aggravating factors in the case, along with the fact that it was witnessed by children.

Woodhall struck his wife with multiple blows from a kukri machete, stepping away at times and coming back to inflict more terrible injuries before driving off

He said: ‘Your conduct may only be characterised as merciless, determined, sustained and savage in the extreme. The deceased was defenceless.

‘The blows were visited with brute force, bringing the knife down repeatedly from a height on to the body of the deceased. Your wife died rapidly from the acute blood loss.

‘It was an unrelenting avalanche of exceptionally serious violence visited upon a defenceless woman.’

He added: ‘You plainly intended to kill your wife. Not a shred of mercy was exhibited at the scene. You left her for dead in the street.’

The court heard that Mrs Woodhall had recently left the family home in Windsor Crescent, Barnsley, to live with another man just as the coronavirus lockdown began.

The judge said she probably left because ‘she had had enough of your controlling and possessive behaviour’.

He heard that the couple married in 2013 but the relationship deteriorated.

On the day of her death, March 29, Mrs Woodhall returned to the couple’s home but the defendant refused to let her in and he tried to report her to the police for breaking the lockdown rules.

She then began using Facebook videos to tell this to her friends.

The judge said that, when Mrs Woodhall began to film her husband through the window, he ‘reacted with acute violence’.

The court heard that Mrs Woodhall suffered terrible injuries to her face, neck and head and could not be saved despite the intervention of neighbours.

Mrs Woodhall was described in court as a ‘beautiful and talented daughter’ who worked as an operation theatre technician at Rotherham General Hospital

Woodhall later gave himself up to police, saying ‘I’ve f***** up’ and ‘What have I done?’

The court heard that the defendant had left the Army in 2013 and was training to be a prison officer.

Mrs Woodhall was described in court as a ‘beautiful and talented daughter’ who worked as an operation theatre technician at Rotherham General Hospital.

She landed her ‘dream job’ after obtaining 13 GCSEs, three A-levels and a degree at Sheffield Hallam University, her father, Paul Mason, told the court.

Mr Mason said his daughter was training to work on Covid wards when she was murdered.

A family statement read: ‘No sentence the judge could have handed down today can bring Vicky back to her family, nor compensate for the terrible pain we are suffering.

‘We would urge anyone who is suffering domestic violence, or who thinks someone they know may be, to tell someone about it.

‘We hope this message might save even one other family from having to endure the nightmare we have endured following Vicky’s murder.’

Woodhall pleaded guilty to murder at a previous hearing. He was jailed for life with a minimum term of 18 years and six months.  

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