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Simonne Kerr murder: Ex-soldier sentenced to life in jail for stabbing 'beautiful butterfly' Wembley mum to death

PUBLISHED: 17:29 03 July 2019 | UPDATED: 17:29 03 July 2019

Simonne Kerr with her son Kavele    Picture: NHS Blood & Transplant

Simonne Kerr with her son Kavele Picture: NHS Blood & Transplant

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An ex-soldier who "viciously snuffed out" the life of a much loved Wembley mum has been sentenced to a minimum 21 years in jail.

Desmond Sylva, found guilty of murdering Simonne Kerr. Picture: Metropolitan Police.Desmond Sylva, found guilty of murdering Simonne Kerr. Picture: Metropolitan Police.

Simonne Kerr, described as a "beautiful butterly" and "shining light" by her family, was stabbed to death by Desmond Sylva, 41, on August 15 last year.

He slashed her throat and stabbed her more than 70 times in the face, neck and abdomen with a 20cm kitchen knife at his home in Grayshott Avenue, Battersea.

Sylva, who served in the Iraq war, admitted manslaughter but denied murder on the grounds of diminished responsibility.

Sentencing Sylva at the Old Bailey today Judge Wendy Joseph QC said: "What you have done and the grief it has caused, and will continue to cause far into the future, is immeasurable.

Dawn Butler withSimonne Kerr, her son and family (Pic ture: Sickle Cell Society)Dawn Butler withSimonne Kerr, her son and family (Pic ture: Sickle Cell Society)

"Simonne was simply a lovely person, much loved by her family, a hard working nurse who gave to a community which she loved." Simonne, whose six-year-old son Kavele tragically died of sickle cell disease in 2015, shot to fame in the NHS choir B Positive on the ITV show Britain's Got Talent.

A haematology and oncology nurse at Guy's and St Thomas' Hospital, she was also a volunteer at the Sickle Cell Society in Harlesden.

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In a statement read out in court, her mother Amoy Johnson said: "A beautiful butterfly, Simonne was a kind-hearted loving child who was full of life and laughter - a shining light."

She said Simonne's sisters were her "biggest cheerleaders" and that "she doted on them and they doted on her. They are crushed, traumatised and forever left with the pain and a hollow hole."

She added: "It's not easy for me to see such a shining light, a soul with so much treasure, visciously snuffed out for no reason.

"My daughter's death has left us with an unbearable sadness and unimaginable grief. She was callously murdered by a vindictive and manipulative man.

"August 15 will forever be the day my family and I will mourn our loss. A beautiful butterfly will forever remind us of Simonne."

The court heard Simonne met Sylva on the dating app Tinder and she was a "cautious and sensible young woman".

Judge Joseph said the wounds to her face were a "deliberate" attempt to "disfigure and terrify her" but it was the wound to her neck that killed her.

She said it was clear that Sylva has a "dreadful and ungovernable" temper, adding: "You killed Simonne Kerr because you are a man of violent disposition prone to outbursts of violent temper."

Due to time served on remand, she told Sylva he will be able to apply for parole in 20 years and 45 days, adding: "You will never be released unless and until the Parole Board permits it."

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