Life sentence for jealous killer who stabbed mum

Victim: Dawn Backhouse was stabbed through the heart by jealous ex-lover Mark Hatter.
Victim: Dawn Backhouse was stabbed through the heart by jealous ex-lover Mark Hatter.
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A JEALOUS lover who knifed a mum-of-three through the heart will spend at least 25 years behind bars.

Mark Hatter, aged 44, stabbed 31-year-old Dawn Backhouse twice with a chef’s knife at her home in Langsett Grove, Walkley.

Sheffield Crown Court heard the murderer climbed into Dawn’s house through an upstairs bedroom window before attacking her in the kitchen, leaving his terrified victim pleading for her life.

After knifing Dawn, Hatter told her as she lay dying: “Look at what you made me do.”

A neighbour also heard a man shout ‘Die, die’.

Dawn’s two young daughters, aged 10 and three, were sleeping upstairs as their mother was stabbed.

The court heard Hatter killed Dawn to stop her leaving Sheffield to be with another man in her home town of Maidstone, Kent.

He had claimed that she stabbed herself while trying to self-harm.

The jury of six women and six men took two-and-a-half hours to unanimously convict Hatter of murder.

Dawn’s family held hands in the public gallery after the verdict was delivered. Hatter’s mother wept uncontrollably.

The killer gazed at his family from the dock as he was found guilty.

In a statement after the sentencing, the victim’s family said they had secured ‘justice for Dawn’.

“Dawn was a loving, kind and beautiful mother, daughter and sister,” they said.

“Today three children grow up with only memories and photos, the opportunity of making more memories suddenly and cruelly cut short.

“Although we now have justice for Dawn, this will never bring back the smiley, bubbly person we all came to know, love and who will forever be missed.”

DCI Phil Etheridge, from South Yorkshire Police, said he was ‘delighted’ with the long sentence.

Sentencing Hatter to life in jail, Judge Alan Goldsack QC said the murderer ‘couldn’t accept’ that Dawn had ended their relationship and decided to move home.

“You were trying to persuade her either to stay or take you with her. When she refused to do either you decided to kill her,” he stated before the court.

“On that fateful and fatal night you took that very sharp chef’s knife from your house and used it to stab her straight through the heart.

“A second stab was required because she managed to intercept the first, which went straight through her wrist.”

Judge Goldsack said Hatter had shown no remorse, and that both his and Dawn’s parents had shown ‘great dignity’ throughout the trial.

As he was taken to the cells, Hatter requested to speak, saying, ‘Can I just say something, please?’

His request was refused by the judge.

Hatter, of Hammerton Road, Hillsborough, had previous convictions for assault occasioning actual bodily harm in 1991, when he was 24.

He had approached two people in the street and punched them in the face ‘apparently for no reason’, jurors heard.