Estranged husband charged with murder of wife and her new partner on New Year's Day

2 January 2020, 17:28 | Updated: 2 January 2020, 17:58

Rhys Hancock (centre) has been charged with the murders of Helen Almey and Martin Griffiths
Rhys Hancock (centre) has been charged with the murders of Helen Almey and Martin Griffiths. Picture: Facebook

By Kate Buck

The estranged husband of a woman found dead in her home with her new partner has been charged with their murder.

Helen Almey, also 39, and Martin Griffiths, 48, were found stabbed to death in Ms Almey's Duffield home shortly after 4am on New Year's Day.

Rhys Hancock, 39, has been charged with their killings and will appear at Southern Derbyshire Magistrates Court tomorrow morning.

The family of Ms Almey and Mr Griffiths have since paid emotional tributes to their loved ones.

Ms Almney, a PE teacher, is understood to have reverted back to her maiden name after splitting with her husband

It is understood she shares three children, aged four, seven and nine, with Mr Hancock.

Rhys Hancock, 39, (pictured with Ms Almey and two of their children) has been charged with her murder
Rhys Hancock, 39, (pictured with Ms Almey and two of their children) has been charged with her murder. Picture: Facebook

They were not believed to be in the home at the time of the killing.

Mr Griffths was a dad-of-two who had been dating Ms Almey for around six months before they were killed.

Derbyshire Police has referred itself to the Independent Office for Police Conduct due to contact between Mrs Hancock and officers prior to the incident.

In a heartbreaking tribute, Mr Almey's family said: "The family are devastated at the loss of Helen who was a lovely, beautiful, friendly, bubbly and social person. We would like to thank people for allowing us privacy at this most difficult of times."

Mr Griffiths family added: “Martin was a lovely dad, husband, son, brother and uncle, who had a passion for adventure, running and a love of animals.

"He enjoyed travelling the world, mountain climbing and spending time with his two children.

Ms Almey is understood to have recently split from Mr Hancock
Ms Almey is understood to have recently split from Mr Hancock. Picture: Derbyshire Police
Mr Griffiths was a dad-of-two who loved mountaineering
Mr Griffiths was a dad-of-two who loved mountaineering. Picture: Facebook

"He will be greatly missed. We would also like to ask that people respect our privacy and allow us space to grieve as we attempt to come to terms with his death.”

One neighbour, who asked to remain anonymous, said they could hear "screaming and shouting" coming from the home at around 3am.

They also said they could hear shouts of: "They’re dead! They’re dead! What have you f**king done?"

Other neighbours told the newspaper Ms Almey had recently split from her husband and had recently reverted to using her maiden name.

The part-time PE teacher was described as a "lovely girl, just lovely" and was "getting her life back together" following the separation.

The scene outside Ms Almey's home
The scene outside Ms Almey's home. Picture: PA

A former school friend of Ms Almey said: "Duffield is a small place where everyone knows everyone so we’re all in complete and utter shock. We can’t stop thinking about Helen’s poor children.

“She was a lovely girl. She was very popular at school.”

Chief Superintendent Hayley Barnett, said: “The thoughts of everyone at Derbyshire Constabulary are with the family and friends of Mrs Hancock and Mr Griffiths.

“Our thoughts are also with the Duffield community, which is understandably shocked by this incident. 

“You will see officers in the area throughout today as the investigation continues and I would urge you to speak to them about any concerns you may have.”

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