Man found guilty of murdering Sheffield woman Maria Howarth
A 60-year-old man has today (26 February) been found guilty of the murder of Maria Howarth in Sheffield last September.
David Bestwick, of Chesterfield Road, Sheffield, has been on trial at Sheffield Crown Court since Monday 22 February, charged with murdering Maria.
The court heard how at around 4am on Sunday 6 September 2020, emergency services were called to School Lane, Greenhill, following reports a woman had been assaulted.
Maria was found with life-threatening injuries and taken to hospital, where she sadly died two days later.
Officers arrested Bestwick at the scene and took him into custody. He was subsequently charged with attempted murder but following Maria’s death, this charge was changed to murder.
Detective Chief Inspector James Axe, senior investigating officer, said: “Firstly, I would like to offer my condolences to Maria’s family on this difficult day, because even though Bestwick has been found guilty of his role in her death, this will do little to ease the grief of her loved ones. Our thoughts are with them.
“Bestwick himself made the initial call to police in the early hours of Sunday morning, claiming he had strangled Maria. When our officers arrived, she had critical injuries and was rushed to hospital.
"Sadly, such was the extent of the damage caused to her body her injuries were to prove fatal and a post-mortem concluded she died from strangulation.
“Bestwick now faces a considerable period of time behind bars for this serious crime, though again this will be of little consolation to Maria’s family. He has refused to accept responsibility for his actions and as such, her family has had to sit through a distressing trial.
“I would like to recognise the actions of those officers who first attended the scene and captured some vital early evidence for the investigation, and those officers who have worked hard over the last five months to bring this matter before the courts and seek justice for Maria.”
Bestwick will be sentenced at Sheffield Crown Court on Monday 1 March.