Former partner admits murder

nrhn Jade Riley Ward
nrhn Jade Riley Ward

The former partner of a woman who worked in Smalley is facing life behind bars after pleading guilty to her murder.

Cornelius Brown, 23, stabbed Jade Riley Ward, 30, to death on September 22 last year, Nottingham Crown Court heard.

nrhn Cornelius Brown.

nrhn Cornelius Brown.

He had previously denied the charge at a hearing in January but on Friday (November 15), Brown changed his plea to guilty.

Described as ‘exceptionally hard working’ by her family, Ms Riley Ward worked at Four04 Packaging, in Hall Farm Way, Smalley, and had been due to start an accountancy course a few weeks after she was killed on September 22, 2012, at her Somercotes home.

Judge John Teare told Brown he will be sentenced on December 20.

“There can of course be only one sentence given to you,” he said.

“I will need to determine the minimum and I will need all the information from the prosecution and the defence’s point of view to do so.”

He showed no emotion as the murder charge was put to him, as family and friends in the public gallery watched on.

More than 20 of Ms Riley Ward’s family and friends sat on the opposite side of the court.

Judge Teare declared that the sentencing hearing would need to be in a ‘larger’ court room, due to the number of people who attended.

Defending Brown, Patrick Thompson told the court he was sorry for the delay that had been caused to proceedings while psychiatric reports were prepared on Brown’s mental state at the time of the murder.

A pre-sentence report will now be prepared in time for sentencing.

Prosecuting, Richard Thatcher asked the judge to also consider a set of recently prepared files on the impact of the murder on Ms Riley Ward’s family, when considering his sentence.

Ms Riley Ward was found with multiple stab wounds at her home in Burke Drive, Somercotes, on September 22, 2012.

In a statement released after her death the family wrote: “To lose her in such a tragic and sudden manner is hard to bear.

“She will be greatly missed by her close family and her many friends.”

A two-hour candlelit vigil was held outside her house shortly after her death last year.