1:25pm Tuesday 26th June 2012
© Press Association 2014
A former police detective has been jailed for life with a minimum term of 17 years after admitting the murder of his partner, a policewoman whose body was found in a shallow woodland grave.
Peter Foster had previously pleaded not guilty to killing Detective Constable Heather Cooper, 33, who was stabbed before her body was dumped in Blackdown Woods, near Lurgashall, West Sussex, in October last year.
But the 36-year-old former detective constable, who lived with the mother-of-two in Haslemere, Surrey, changed his plea to guilty at Lewes Crown Court on Tuesday.
Miss Cooper was killed at the couple's home while she was on maternity leave with her second child, who was born just weeks prior to her death.
The court heard that Foster claimed Miss Cooper had attacked him and he initially acted in self-defence but then his actions turned to aggression.
The hearing was told he hit her over the head 10 times with a baseball bat before stabbing her in the throat. The court was also told that Foster did not have a clear memory of the events.
Sentencing Foster, Judge Richard Brown described him as an "extremely dangerous individual" who may never be safe to be let out of prison.
He said: "This was a wicked, savage and senseless attack on a young mother in her own home. Not only have you taken her life, you have also deprived Joshua and Isabel of a loving mother and, no doubt, devastated her family and friends."
The judge added that aggravating factors were that the attack was carried out in front of the couple's children, that the defendant was trained in martial arts, and the ferocity of the attack which involved two weapons.
He said the minimum prison term would be 17 years but it would be a matter for the parole board whether Foster would then be released.
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