Brave girl, 11, stabbed 24 times trying to save mum, 31, as her husband Christopher Boon murdered them in fit of rage after she discovered affair

Brave girl, 11, stabbed 24 times trying to save mum, 31, as her husband Christopher Boon murdered them in fit of rage after she discovered affair

January 27, 2022

AN eleven-year-old girl was stabbed 24 times when she tried to save her mum from her stepfather as she was knifed to death.

Ella Dalby, who was just 4ft11 and weighed 39kg, bravely rushed to the family kitchen after hearing her 31-year-old mother Laura Mortimer arguing with her husband Christopher Boon in the early hours of Bank Holiday Monday in May.

Wedding planner Laura had told her 28-year-old husband she wanted a divorce after finding out he had been having an affair.

But the mother and daughter were violently murdered by Boon in the kitchen of their Gloucester home on May 28.

Boon today pleaded guilty to their murders at Bristol Crown Court and was sentenced to life with a minimum of 29 years in prison.

Richard Smith QC, prosecuting, told the court: "Having heard matters dramatically unfold in the kitchen, Ella got out of her bed and bravely came to the help of her mother.

"Eleven-year-old Ella must have witnessed, in part at least, the murderous attack on her mother before Boon also attacked his stepdaughter."

The court was told the young girl had blood on her feet, suggesting she came into the kitchen to intervene after hearing the murderous assault.

Both Laura, who was stabbed 18 times, and Ella had defensive wounds – suggesting they fought back.

Mr Smith said: "It is clear that it was a sustained and brutal episode of violence in which Laura and Ella suffered multiple stab wounds about their faces and necks."

He told the court: "She has clearly fought for her life, seeking to fend off and perhaps grasp back the knife that was being used to kill her."

The bodies of Laura and Ella were found on the kitchen floor in "significant pools of blood".

After the attack, Boon left the property and phoned his mother to tell her what he had done.

But when interviewed by police, Boon denied any recollection of the attack and showed no remorse over the deaths.

It comes after it was revealed Boon allegedly attacked Mrs Mortimer previously, but she did not pursue a prosecution against him.

The court also heard that Boon regularly referred to Ella as a "c*nt" during their relationship.

Friends also claimed Boon was "controlling" in the relationship.

Just weeks before her death, Laura claimed Boon had punched a hole in the wall when she told him she wanted a divorce after finding out about the affair.

After the argument on May 17, Laura sent a text message to a friend stating: "Had to walk out of my house. Long story hun."

In a phone call to the friend, the mum described how Boon "went for her" and she told him she wanted a divorce.

Mr Smith said: "Boon had then punched a hole in a wall and told Laura 'that was meant for your face'."

But when interviewed after the murders barely a few weeks later, Boon made no comment to most of the questions he was asked.

Boon told police after the killing: "She (Laura) slapped me across the face and I picked up the knife and lost it."

He was arrested at 6am two kilometres away from home address covered in blood, with accidental injuries to his hand and leg from the knife rampage.

Stephen Leslie QC, defending, offered no apology on behalf of the killer.

He said: "It was a total loss of temper but no pre-meditation."

The court was also told Boon had a previous conviction of assault on an ex-partner in 2010.

Jailing Boon today, Mrs Justice May described the murders as "unspeakable savagery" and paid tribute to "brave" Ella for going to her mother's aid.

"She would have witnessed some part of your murderous attack on her mother and tried to stop you before you turned on her," she told Boon.

"What a brave girl. She and her mother were found lying together, side by side."

She added: "Your wanton savagery has blighted the lives of many forever."

‘WONDERFUL DEVOTED MOTHER’: Tributes to Laura Mortimer and Ella Dalby

The families of Laura Mortimer and her 11-year-old daughter Ella Dalby paid tribute to them as friendly and beautiful.

Richard Smith QC read extracts of victim personal statements as part of the sentencing of Christopher Boon by Mrs Justice May at Bristol Crown Court.

Ms Mortimer's mother, Hilary Bartholomew, said she "lived life to the full" and was "full of fun".

"Laura was friendly to everyone and a happy person who loved to make others happy," her statement said.

"She was adored by all of her family and by her many friends. Laura was talented and a really hard worker.

"She had done brilliantly in setting up her own wedding planning business. Laura was a wonderful, devoted mother."

Mrs Bartholomew described how Ms Mortimer would "shower" Ella with affection.

"Ella was my adored first grandchild and we were extremely close," her statement said.

"She was such a beautiful, loving, happy little girl. She was also very talented at dancing. Ella adored her mother.

"My husband and I had to identify Laura and Ella, and seeing them will stay in my head for the rest of my life."

Ella's father, Tom Dalby, said his daughter, a student at Barnwood Park Arts College who had a passion for dance, had brought "great joy" since her birth in July 2006.

"I am haunted by recurring nightmares of the horror that they must have suffered," Mr Dalby's statement said.

"Every morning is a battle to get out of bed. The unbearable pain is always there. I feel empty and my heart is broken.

"The first thing I see when I open my curtains each morning is Chosen Hill where my 11-year-old girl is now buried.

"Every day I feel the terror and pain Ella must have felt in the last moments of her life. I feel guilty I was unable to protect her."

The judge said there were a number of aggravating factors in the case, including the "ferocity" of the attacks and that both victims suffered "mental and physically" before their deaths.

The families of Ms Mortimer and Ella, who packed the public galleries of court room two, loudly applauded after the sentence was passed.

DCI Ruth Mather of Gloucester Police today revealed the crime scene was "horrendous".

She said: "Laura and Ella’s murders have devastated their loved ones and continue to have a profound effect on all who knew Laura and Ella and the wider community.

"My thoughts today are with Laura and Ella’s family and friends, who have shown unbelievable strength throughout and still have to confront the consequences of Boon’s actions on a daily basis.

"Boon should be clear though – they will never recover from what he did.



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"Laura and Ella’s story shines a light on the nature of domestic abuse and the impact on children."

Boon previously denied the charges against him but entered guilty pleas at a hearing on Monday.

Ms Mortimer ran her own business, Sweet Beginnings, offering bespoke bridal gowns and wedding planning services.

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