University student found strangled next to body of ‘violent boyfriend she was drifting apart from’

Andy Dolan

Last updated at 4:50 PM on 4th January 2012

Katy Winchester was found strangled next to her boyfriend's body during a visit home to Lincolnshire from university

Katy Winchester was found strangled next to her boyfriend’s body during a visit home to Lincolnshire from university

A university student was found strangled
next to the body of the violent and possessive boyfriend she was ‘drifting
apart’ from, an inquest heard yesterday.

Katy Winchester, 21, had moved 100 miles
from home to study but was killed during a weekend visit home to see friends
and lover Kurt Tyrrell, an electrician the coroner heard described as a
‘weekend binge drinker’.

The pair were found dead in the
26-year-old tradesman’s locked bedroom last April, just weeks before the
Manchester Metropolitan University student was due to sit the final exams of
her English literature degree.

At the time of the incident in North
Hykeham, Lincolnshire, police said they were not looking for anybody else in
connection with the deaths.

Yesterday, friends of the couple told a
coroner how Tyrrell had been both violent and unfaithful towards his girlfriend
in the past.

Miss Winchester’s best friend, Natalie
Watson, said that while the couple appeared normal on the surface, Tyrrell was
‘quite controlling and the jealous type’.

She added: ‘I didn’t think they were going
to be (together) forever. They had different views on life. They wanted to
do different things.’

The court heard that in 2010, Tyrrell took
a job in Manchester to be closer to Miss Winchester, a student at Manchester
Metropolitan University.

The inquest was told the couple
split up in the autumn of that year but had reunited by Christmas, four months
before they died while the student was on a weekend visit home to Lincolnshire.

Miss Winchester’s semi-naked body was
found by a paramedic who smashed open Tyrrell’s bedroom door with a
sledgehammer after a 999 call from a housemate who had been unable to rouse the

Tyrrell was also found dead in the room after apparently hanging himself.

The inquest heard the couple spent
the previous evening drinking with different groups of friends in Lincoln
city centre before sharing a taxi for the five-mile journey back to the house.

Stuart Hall, one of Tyrrell’s housemates,
said the pair had shared four bottles of vodka with another friend during
‘drinking games’ before heading for their night out.

Mr Hall told the inquest that when he
arrived home at 3am, he noticed what turned out to be blood on the floor of the
house, but which he dismissed at the time as tomato ketchup.

He saw Miss Winchester and her boyfriend’s
shoes outside Tyrrell’s bedroom door and assumed they were inside, but raised
the alarm when they had failed to appear by 5pm the next day.

Mr Hall said he noticed ‘the largest knife
from our kitchen’ in the bedroom alongside the bloodied and bruised bodies.

Asked by the coroner, Stuart
Fisher, if it was correct to say the couple were drifting apart Mr Hall
replied: ‘Yes, they argued a lot.’

Mr Hall described the couple’s
relationship as ‘tempestuous,’ adding, ‘it was always on and off, one day her
never wanted to see her again and the next he wanted to marry her.’

Another housemate, Oscar Campbell, said
Tyrrell once admitted going ‘mad’ during a night out in Manchester organised by
the notorious student pub crawl firm Carnage UK, which culminated in him
wrecking Miss Winchester’s bedroom.

Mr Campbell also said Tyrrell had once
admitted his girlfriend ‘made him that mad he could kill her’, but dismissed the
remark as a figure of speech.

He added: ‘Kurt had a bad temper but only when
he’d had alcohol. I know he’d hit her a few times…He was a weekend binge
drinker. He would just flip and lose control of himself.’

Another friend told the inquest Tyrrell had
been having an affair for a year behind Miss Winchester’s back.

Post mortem evidence revealed Miss
Winchester, who worked for both Manchester football clubs while studying in the
city, died from compression to her neck and had also suffered two blows to her

Tyrrell died from ligature strangulation and also had superficial
stab wounds.

The couple met in their home town of
Sleaford, Lincolnshire. At the time of their deaths, friends said they had been
together for a number of years.

The Lincoln inquest continues.

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