DETECTIVES worked for five months to convict Ann-Marie Pomphret’s murderer in an investigation encompassing more than 100 witnesses and scouring every CCTV camera in a 2km radius.

But ultimately, it was David Pomphret’s socks that forced him to admit that he had killed his wife.

Warrington Guardian:

David Pomphret

The evening of November 2 2018 was the Friday closest to Bonfire Night.

As fireworks lit up the skies above Warrington, Ann-Marie’s life ended in the most brutal way in a dark and isolated field on the outskirts of the town.

Up until that point, her final day had been almost completely unremarkable.

Known as Marie to friends and family, she and then 17-year-old daughter Megan woke early and tended to their four beloved horses at the stables the family owned on Old Alder Lane in Burtonwood.

The rest of the day was similarly filled with mundane errands – shopping at Tesco Extra, dropping Megan off at Priestley College and picking her up again, attending a gym class at Orford Jubilee Neighbourhood Hub.

David Pomphret had also risen early for work, setting off for Barclays’ base in Knutsford not long after 7am, and he too had visited the Winwick Road supermarket en route.

After working half a day, he left for home at 1.30pm and later that afternoon took the couple’s Nissan Qashqai to a garage in Manchester.

Exactly when it was that the bank executive decided to murder his wife of 21 years, we will likely never know.

Detectives who worked on the case seem to believe that he drove to the stables after another shopping trip, this time to Asda in Golborne, with the sole intention of doing so.

Warrington Guardian:

CCTV footage of Ann-Marie and David Pomphret in Asda in Golborne

He told officers during more than a dozen interviews that he had stopped off at the farmland in order to pick up tools for DIY, but he already had almost identical pieces of kit at their home on Masefield Drive in Winwick.

Upon learning that Megan would be staying over at a friend’s that night, it may well be that he realised he had an opportunity to kill while nobody would be in the family home all evening.

His motive became clear during an often unsavoury two-week trial at Liverpool Crown Court.

Over several years, he had suffered verbal and physical abuse at the hands of the woman he had first met at her 21st birthday party – largely attributed to her having a number of mental health problems.

Defence barrister Richard Pratt described his client as a ‘quiet man who finally snapped’.

But the catastrophic injuries Ann-Marie suffered exactly three weeks shy of her 50th birthday, and the force that must have been used in order to inflict them, were sickening.

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David Pomphret’s claim was that he had lost all self-control during an attack that must have lasted several minutes, before seemingly snapping back into his senses and attempting to cover up what he had done.

But the jury did not buy it, and last week unanimously found him guilty of murder – he having instead pleaded guilty to the lesser charge of manslaughter.

This admission came after months of denials.

It was five months and one day after his wife’s death that the 51-year-old was charged with her murder.

The guilty plea came another month down the line, his hand forced by one vital piece of evidence.

An avid watcher of CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, the forensics drama taught him to dispose of the crowbar he had hit his wife over the head with more than 30 times and a hammer which also had Ann-Marie’s blood on it.

READ > 'He must have thought he was going to get away with it' - Pomphret murder detective

Warrington Guardian:

The murder weapon

Pomphret cleaned the weapons of blood, throwing the crowbar into a pond – recovered a week later when police drained the water away – and stashing the hammer in a rabbit hole.

He burned his t-shirt in an incinerator and placed his trousers and trainers into a plastic bag, which he threw onto an embankment of the M62 while cycling between the crime scene and the Winwick Park estate.

Apparently concerned texts were sent to Ann-Marie’s phone, and he even packed away the groceries they had bought together.

But he had forgotten about his socks.

Officers put extensive work into retrieving statements from 107 witnesses, analysing the shape of the headlights of the couple’s two cars in order to identify them on CCTV footage, tracing the usage and whereabouts of their mobile phones, removing more than 200 tonnes of slurry from the rural land, visiting more than 300 addresses and running checks on 1,300 people and 480 vehicles.

WATCH > Police bodycam captures moments after husband has brutally murdered his wife

In the end though, the decisive factor in securing the conviction was airborne blood discovered on the pair of socks David Pomphret was wearing – placing him squarely at the scene of the crime.

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David Jones, the Crown Prosecution Service’s reviewing lawyer in the case, told the Warrington Guardian: “In the period between his release following his initial arrest and ultimately being charged and produced before the courts, we worked to build a file ready for charging.

“The amount of work that had to be done was huge because he created what he accepts is a story.

“But the account he gave was clearly a pack of lies – he maintained his denial throughout a total of 15 interviews with police, he never once said it was him.

“If he was telling lies, it pointed to him being responsible and covering his acts – he was acting and lying throughout, and he accepted that he had tried to get himself off.

“I think that anybody who had heard the evidence would look at it and say that this is somebody who had been very much in control of what he was doing, certainly in the period after the attack.

“He was thinking it through clearly, because he was disposing of the weapons that he had used in the attack and the clothing that he was wearing – except his socks.

“His socks were the thing that undid him.

“The evidence pointed to him being very calculated in what he did afterwards, and he accepted that he did everything he could to try and get off with it.”

Now that the dust can finally settle on the horrors of that night nearly a year ago, there remains a family broken by the death of a mother and the absence of a father.

Warrington Guardian:

Ann-Marie Pomphret

Mr Jones, who has more than 30 years of experience in his field, added: “There is a young girl of 18 who has lost her mother, and whose dad is going to be in jail for what will be a long period of time.

“She has lost her mother in such tragic circumstances and has to live knowing that her father has killed her mum.

“It’s a very sad case.”