Killer who suffered Satan fantasies is jailed after drowning auntie and strangling grandmother

Pictured is Christopher Whelan, 21, of Dransfield Road, Crosspool, Sheffield, who killed his auntie Julie Hill and his grandmother Rose Hill at Julie Hill's home on Station Road, Shirebrook.
A previous image supplied and tagged as Christopher Whelan by Derbyshire Constabulary was incorrect.

Pictured is Christopher Whelan, 21, of Dransfield Road, Crosspool, Sheffield, who killed his auntie Julie Hill and his grandmother Rose Hill at Julie Hill's home on Station Road, Shirebrook. A previous image supplied and tagged as Christopher Whelan by Derbyshire Constabulary was incorrect.

A double-killer who drowned his auntie and strangled his grandmother to death in Shirebrook has been given a life jail sentence.

Nottingham Crown Court heard on Monday, November 21, how Christopher Whelan, 21, of Dransfield Road, Crosspool, Sheffield, killed Julie Hill, 51, and her mother Rose Hill, 75, whose bodies were found by the emergency services at Julie Hill’s house on Station Road, Shirebrook, on February 26.

Julie Hill and Rose Hill.

Julie Hill and Rose Hill.

Whelan - who had been armed with an axe and a knife during the brutal and savage attacks - pleaded not guilty to two counts of murder but pleaded guilty to two counts of manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility due to his mental status which was accepted by Judge Mrs Justice Carr DBE.

Prosecuting barrister Michael Evans QC said Julie Hill’s son Liam Parker was the first to find her body shortly before paramedics arrived and discovered both women had been killed.

Mr Evans QC said: “Julie Hill’s body was found by her son face down in a bath full of water which was still running.

“Rose Hill’s body was found at the base of steps in the cellar. Post mortem results indicated that they had been subjected to pro-longed and particularly brutal attacks. The attacks were to some extent planned and sustained and brutal. There was a clear intention to kill both victims.”

Police outside the home of Jullie Hill, on Station Road, Shirebrook, where she was found dead with deceased Rose Hill.

Police outside the home of Jullie Hill, on Station Road, Shirebrook, where she was found dead with deceased Rose Hill.

Post mortem results revealed Julie Hill had suffered various injuries including puncture wounds, bruising and lacerations and a tooth had become lodged in her throat and Mr Evans QC said she had been drowned.

Rose Hill, of St Francis Close, Crosspool, Sheffield, died from strangulation, according to post mortem results, with bruising around her throat and other injuries to her face, arm, hand and legs and a laceration to her forearm.

The court heard how Rose Hill was found near a chair which was dripping with blood and there were blood stains in both the bathroom and the cellar. Mr Evans QC explained the defendant had been upset about his parents’ divorce and felt Julie and Rose Hill were responsible for the break-up of the family and he resented them.

The court heard how Whelan had used cannabis and he admitted he had previously had dark thoughts about murder.

Mr Evans told the court Whelan had arrived at Shirebrook on the morning of February 25 with a plan to rob Julie Hill, and Rose Hill had been seen arriving afterwards.

Julie Hill’s son Liam Parker visited the property on February 26 and discovered his mother’s body and the emergency services were alerted and also found Rose Hill dead.

Mr Evans QC said Whelan had left a farewell note to his family and the defendant had called police from London days later and confessed.

He told police he had strangled and drowned the victims and said he had felt remorseful.

Mr Evans QC revealed Whelan had been armed with an axe and a knife during his time at Julie Hill’s home.

He added: “It may well be Rose Hill was subjected to a savage attack while in a chair with a sock forced into her mouth involving an axe to injure and scare her and her wrist was severed at some point and the chair was tipped back and at a later stage she was strangled. That is why I suggest it was gratuitous violence and a savage and brutal attack.

“He punched Julie Hill to the extent that her tooth was lodged in her throat and he filled a bath and drowned her. Whether this was savage or brutal or gratuitous, these were sustained attacks.”

The court also heard how Julie Hill had been growing cannabis at her home to deal with depression and the defendant had previously assisted her and spent time at her home.

In a psychiatric interview Whelan admitted he had demanded money from Julie Hill before killing her.

Psychiatric evidence revealed Whelan thought some of his fantasies about killing came from Satan and his long-term use of cannabis had made things worse.

The court heard how Julie Hill’s bereaved son Liam Parker, 22, of Charnock Street, Sheffield, could not cope with what had happened and killed himself in April.

Mr Evans QC said: “These events have lasting consequences and have had a devastating impact on the family.”

Defence barrister Michael Turner QC said Whelan suffers with an abnormality of the mind and was quick to admit the killings.

Judge Mrs Justice Carr DBE said: “These two ladies had an absolutely terrifying experience before they were actually killed.”

Whelan was given a life jail sentence and will not be considered for release for 15 years.

The mentally-ill killer of Julie and Rose Hill was deemed to have an abnormality of the mind after he confessed to having fantasies from Satan.

Psychiatric evidence confirmed Whelan had an abnormality of mental function, arising from a recognised mental condition affecting his ability to have rational judgement and self-control and the court accepted this as an explanation for his conduct.

Judge Mrs Justice Carr DBE told Nottingham Crown Court that Whelan’s guilty pleas to manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility were acceptable and the previously planned murder trial was dismissed.

Psychiatric evidence revealed Whelan thought some of his fantasies about killing came from Satan and his long-term use of cannabis had made things worse.

He told police he was going to kill the women on the night before their deaths and that there must be something wrong with him and he felt remorseful but he killed them because he was on bad terms with them.

Whelan added to police: “It’s amazing what the human body is capable of.”

He told police: “I can’t believe what I have done. Why did they have to go and get rid of the death penalty.”

He admitted having mental health problems, according to prosecuting barrister Michael Evans QC, and he had suffered dark thoughts about murder.

The court heard during psychiatric evidence that Whelan, who went to church, thought some his fantasies emanated from Satan.

In his farewell note to his family, he stated: “I have to do this for me and my God. Hope you live happy lives and reach your destiny. Be free and happy. I will never forget you.”

The heartbroken family of Christopher Whelan has been left with a devastating conflict of interest for the rest of their lives.

Prosecuting barrister Michael Evans QC told Nottingham Crown Court: “There is a conflict of interest for the family. The family does not wish to make any statements.

“These events have long-lasting consequences and a devastating impact on the family.

“The defendant didn’t tell police until days afterwards and Julie Hill’s son Liam Parker found his mother’s body. He could not cope with what happened. He was 22-years-old and took his own life on April 20.

“You have to think what would have happened if the events had been reported earlier.

“There have been devastating consequences with two people suffering by losing their lives but it is actually three.”

An inquest heard how Liam Parker was later killed after he had been hit by a train in April.

The family of Julie and Rose Hill revealed at the time of their deaths that they had been left devastated and described both women as “loving mothers” and “dear friends”.