Estranged husband shoots woman, her mother, and her dog in execution-style killing after she refuses to reconcile
35-year-old Craig Savage has been accused of murdering 32-year-old wife Michelle Savage, her 53-year-old mother Heather Whitbread, and her dog Zeus
The Lewes Crown Court in East Sussex, England, heard the details of how an estranged husband shot dead his wife, mother-in-law, and pet dog in a fit of rage after she refused to reconcile with him. 35-year-old Craig Savage has been accused of murdering 32-year-old wife Michelle Savage, her 53-year-old mother Heather Whitbread, and his wife's dog Zeus on March 16 earlier this year.
According to the Daily Mail, police were called to Whitbread's residence in St. Leonards, East Sussex on the fateful day and found the bodies of both the victims with several bullet wounds. It was determined that Michelle had been shot six times and that Whitbread around seven times with an M4 semi-automatic assault rifle. Savage was subsequently charged with two counts of murder and possession of a firearm with the intent to endanger life.
Savage, however, denied the charges and was sent to trial where prosecutor Benjamin Aina QC told the jury that the killing was a "planned execution." He said, "He carried out the shooting because he had been rejected by his wife. They had separated about a month before the shooting and he was desperate for a reconciliation."
"One of the entry wounds on each woman was accompanied by a muzzle mark," he continued. "This indicates that the firearm was pressed fairly close to each woman and discharged in an execution-type manner."
The court also heard the extent to which Savage went to "convince" his wife to get back with him. The 35-year-old reportedly spammed his wife Michelle with text messages, threatened to release revenge porn, poured paint on family cars, and then slashed her car tires on her birthday, just one week before he went on his rampage.
Also in the residence at the time of the shooting were Michelle's grandmother, Patricia Groves, and her seven-months-pregnant younger sister Raven. The pair would hide in the three-bedroom semi-detached house as the shooting took place and would escape from the incident unharmed.
When authorities arrived at the scene, Savage tried to resist arrest and is said to have tried to fire the gun at responding officers. However, the gun would fail to discharge after the firing mechanism jammed. The gun, an M4 semi-automatic .22 caliber rifle, was later presented as evidence in court, with the jury hearing how the 35-year-old had stolen it "by force" with ammunition from a local firing range after pointing it at a member of the staff.
Savage was snapped wearing a dark suit and a white shirt and is said to have become visibly upset when the prosecution opened its case. He was reportedly seen shaking his head and resting his chin on his hand before then lowering his head and looking at the floor.
The trial is being presided over by High Court judge Maura McGowan and is expected to last up to three weeks.