A man who sent a WhatsApp message to his boss saying he hadn’t turned up to work because he’d “murdered someone” - before sending him a photo of the body as proof - has been jailed for life.
Ian Robertson stabbed Robert Sempey, 38, in the throat, head and body after a row at the defendant’s home in Haydock, Merseyside, when they came back from the pub on January 19.
As Sempey lay dying, Robertson, 33, recorded him on his mobile phone and could be heard talking to him, a court was told.
The defendant and his partner, Kirsty Jervis, 31, then moved his body into the garden of the property in Beilby Road and covered it with two doors, the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said.
Police were alerted to the murder two days later when Robertson’s boss, Anthony Millward, informed them he had received a confession message from Sempey, that ended with four kisses.
Millward had messaged his employee: “Is everything OK mate? Alex said that you wasn’t in work today because of a family emergency? X”.
Robertson replied: “If you want the truth mate, I murdered someone in my house last night so now need to fix it. XXXX”
Robertson went on to tell him that Sempey was in the garden and sent him a picture of his victim’s blood-stained body as proof.
On Thursday, Robertson was sentenced at Liverpool Crown Court and ordered to serve a minimum of 21 years in prison before he can be considered for parole.
His partner, Jervis, was jailed for two years and eight months for assisting an offender.
The couple pleaded guilty at an earlier hearing to the offences.
In a victim impact statement read to the court, Sempey’s sister Michelle wrote: “He was a funny, loving father, brother and uncle. We were all that close that when we hadn’t heard from him by the Saturday myself and Mandie (Sempey’s other sister) knew something bad had happened to him, we could feel it.
“The day we found out what had happened destroyed my family – the Three Amigos became two. I had to explain to my four children that their wonderful, loving uncle had been murdered and was never coming home.
“I then had to sit his daughter down and tell her that her dad had gone to Heaven. He used to say to her, ‘who’s the best team in the world, babe?’, and she would say, ‘we are dad’.
“I don’t think my family will ever be able to get over this and move on.”
Following sentence, Mersey-Cheshire CPS senior prosecutor Sarah Gray said the case was “one of the most disturbing” she had ever dealt with.
“Both Robertson and Jervis pleaded guilty to the offences, sparing Mr Sempey’s relatives and the jury from having to hear the dreadful recording of his last moments.
“The reason why Robertson killed Mr Sempey has not been established. At one point, the men seemed to be getting along well but that deteriorated.
“My thoughts are with Robert Sempey’s family and the Crown Prosecution Service extends condolences to them at this very difficult time.”