The detective who led the investigation into India Chipchase’s death has branded her murderer the “worst kind of predator” after he preyed on the barmaid while she was “at her most vulnerable.”
Edward Tenniswood, 52, was handed a minimum term of 30 years in prison for the murder and rape of Miss Chipchase this afternoon.
A jury of six men and six women sitting at Birmingham Crown Court found Tenniswood guilty today in less than two hours to deliver the verdict following a 10-day trial.
India, 20, was killed by Tenniswood in the early hours of January 30 this year, after he led her away from friends in Bridge Street, Northampton.
Detective Chief Inspector Steve Woliter from the East Midlands Special Operational Unit (EMSOU) led the investigation into India’s death.
He said: “I welcome the decision of the jury today and thank them for the diligence they have shown throughout the last two weeks.
It is clear that Tenniswood targeted India at a point when she was most vulnerable and unable to defend herself – the actions of the worst kind of predator.
“Tenniswood’s predatory actions in the early hours of Saturday, January 30, have left India’s family totally devastated, and I want to take this opportunity to publicly express mine and the force’s condolences to them.
“India’s family and friends have shown great strength and courage in the last six months as they have tried to come to terms with what has happened, and I also want to thank them for their help and patience during the course of our investigation.
“India was a young woman at the start of her life, who should have been able to enjoy a night out with friends and return home without coming to any harm.
“It is clear that Tenniswood targeted India at a point when she was most vulnerable and unable to defend herself – the actions of the worst kind of predator.”
He added: “My lasting hope is that India’s family is able to take some kind of solace in the fact that Tenniswood will not be able to prey on any other young women who are innocently going about their lives.”
India had been enjoying a night out with friends in Northampton town centre when Tenniswood approached her in the early hours of Saturday, January 30.
He led her to a taxi before taking her to his house in Stanley Road, St James.
Superintendent Chris Hillery, Head of Local Policing, said this type of incident was unprecedented in Northamptonshire.
Supt Hillery said: “India was like any other 20-year-old in that she enjoyed spending time with her friends and socialising and they all should have been able to enjoy a night out and return home with shared memories of a fun-filled evening.
“Instead, India’s family and friends have been left devastated by the tragic turn of events.
“This was a tragedy that affected a lot of people in Northampton, and I want reassure them that this was an unprecedented incident, unlike any other we have seen in one of our town centres in all my years at Northamptonshire Police.
“I understand people’s genuine concerns about going out, however, we want people to be able to visit our town centres and enjoy themselves - there is no reason not to.
“I want to take this opportunity to remind people of some key personal safety tips and also urge anyone with any concerns to speak to any of our officers out on patrol in our town centres.”
Supt Hilery asked anyone who goes out in the town centre to look after each other while out, keep together and in close contact.
He said people should plan ahead and organise transport home before going out, always use a licensed cab or taxi, or get a lift with a friend or family member.
Anyone seeing either someone acting suspiciously or something out of the ordinary while on a night out can call police on 101.
He added: “We work closely with partners and licensed premises to keep our town centres as safe as possible and will continue to do so.
“We are committed to making Northamptonshire the safest place in the country and that includes making people feel safe while they’re out in our town centres at night.”
Janine Smith, chief crown prosecutor for CPS East Midlands, said: “The abduction, rape and murder of India Chipchase were devastating for all who knew her. Edward Tenniswood is clearly a highly dangerous and manipulative man, who pursued his own self-interest and preyed on his young female victim.
“Tenniswood concocted an elaborate web of lies to try to cover up his criminal actions in court. The truth of this case is that India Chipchase could not and did not consent to anything that night. Tenniswood abducted her, raped her and then killed her.
“My sympathies are with India’s family at this difficult time. It is a tragedy that a young woman with her life ahead of her was taken from those who love her in such a heartless manner.”