Published on 11 Jan 2013 Sections

Jilted ex-policeman guilty of murdering hairdresser wife

A former policeman is found guilty of stabbing his estranged wife to death after years of violent abuse and threats, after the court heard she had previously resisted pressing charges.

Ivan Esack, 38, knifed his wife Natalie up to 11 times in front of her horrified colleague because he could not cope with her being with someone else.

Following the attack with an eight-inch blade at Esack Hair and Beauty in High Street in Kent, the ex-policeman turned to his estranged wife’s colleague, Chelsea Ford, then 17, and said: “She deserved it, the bitch.”

Maidstone crown court heard that Mrs Esack, 33, had suffered years of abuse and controlling behaviour at the hands of her husband. She had contacted police on four separate occasions from 2009 up until a month before her death. But according to police, did not want him to face prosecution and did not co-operate with their inquiries.

He was found guilty of murder Maidstone crown court after seven hours of deliberation by the jury. He is due to be sentenced at the same court on Monday.

He declined to give evidence at the trial and admitted manslaughter, but claimed diminished responsibility.

Previous threats

The ex-Kent Police detective constable, who was an aspiring football agent, had told Mrs Esack in the period before the killing that she was a “dead woman walking” and added: “Tick tock, tick tock.”

Natalie was a very private person and it’s clear that she knew that if she reported Ivan to us it would impact on him. Detective Chief Inspector Paul Fotheringham

The court heard that Esack could not deal with his wife seeing another man following the end of their six-year marriage. Weeks before he fatally stabbed her, Mrs Esack told police he tried to strangle her but she apparently refused to divulge further details.

Detective Chief Inspector Paul Fotheringham, of the Kent and Essex serious crime directorate, said despite prior threats, he could not say whether police could have prevented her from being killed as Esack was a “determined” man.

Mr Fotheringham read a statement on behalf of Mrs Esack’s family in which they said they were “devastated” by her murder. “Anyone that was lucky enough to come into Natalie’s life would tell you the same – that she was the most caring, selfless and genuine, happy, outgoing person,” it said.

“Natalie was the head of our small family. We all looked up to and respected her.”

Timeline of previous contact
14 December 2009: Police attend an abandoned 999 call at the Esacks’ home after Mrs Esack called asking for help following a row.

25 October 2011: Following the breakdown of their marriage, Mrs Esack visits Ashford police station to report a series of abusive text messages and calls from her husband. It was noted that Esack had access to a firearm and had made previous threats to shoot her and her father, and Mrs Esack received harassment advice from police.

11 February 2012: Mrs Esack contacts Kent Police after Esack told her he intended to kill himself. Officers visited and Esack was admitted to hospital for assessment but later sent home.

13 March 2012: A month before the killing, her new boyfriend, Justin Khadaroo, dials 999. In the background Mrs Esack could be heard telling Esack: “you aren’t allowed to come in, you tried to kill me.”

A ‘private person’

No referral was made to the police watchdog, the Independent Police Complaints Commission, about her previous contact with police, and no disciplinary issues were found. DCI Fotheringham said that Mrs Esack was keen to protect Esack from prosecution despite the abuse she suffered.

“We did have reports in relation to Natalie suffering domestic abuse which we did follow up with Natalie but she didn’t want to support any prosecution against Ivan,” he said. “Natalie was a very private person and it’s clear that she knew that if she reported Ivan to us it would impact on him.”

He added that the case was subject to an independently chaired, multi-agency review which is due to report next month.

The detective said it was common for abused people not to want to support prosecutions of their abusers, and that he did not want Mrs Esack’s unwillingness to engage with police to be seen as a criticism of her.