The partner of former EastEnders actress Sian Blake has been told he will spend the rest of his life behind bars for murdering her and their two young children.
Arthur Simpson-Kent killed Ms Blake, 43, and their sons, Zachary, eight, and four-year-old Amon, after the actress, who was terminally ill with motor neurone disease, planned to leave him and take the boys with her.
All three were hit on the head before being stabbed in the neck or throat by Simpson-Kent, who painted over bloodstains in their bungalow in Erith, south-east London, before fleeing to his native Ghana.
Mr Justice Singh, sentencing Simpson-Kent at the Old Bailey on Wednesday, ordered that the 49-year-old should serve a “whole life” prison term for his barbaric crimes on the night of December 14/15 last year.
The court had previously heard that Ms Blake’s condition meant she would have been physically incapable of defending herself from a violent attack.
The court heard that Simpson-Kent told a psychiatrist after his arrest that he used a small axe to bludgeon his three victims unconscious before using a knife.
There were tears in the public gallery as Mr Justice Singh said he had been left “in no doubt” that Simpson-Kent should spend the rest of his life in prison.
As the impassive triple-killer looked on, the judge told the court: “In my judgment this was indeed a case where each murder involved a substantial degree of premeditation or planning.
“At the very least that must be true of the murder of each of the two little boys individually, and in turn after the defendant had already killed Sian Blake.
“Further, and in any event, there were serious aggravating features of this case.
“Each of the victims was particularly vulnerable because of age or disability. There was an abuse of position of trust. There was concealment of the bodies. He made efforts to remove evidence of his crimes at the house, including repainting.
“He sought to lay a false trail by using Sian Blake’s mobile phone. He lied to the police and others about the whereabouts of the family.”