herald

Monday 21 August 2017

Irish man killed by prostitute had stabbed his son

Thomas Groome
Thomas Groome

AN IRISH man killed by his prostitute girlfriend previously stabbed his own son to death.

Thomas Groome (54), who was originally from Co Offaly, was killed by his partner June Buttle (56) following an argument in January 2010, Sheffield Crown Court heard yesterday.

Buttle, who was described as “heartless and cruel” by Groome’s family, was sentenced to 16 years in jail for manslaughter. His body has never been found.

On two occasions Buttle admitted to different people that she had chopped him up and burnt the body parts on a bonfire.

Groome was jailed in 2004 for seven years after he was found guilty of the manslaughter of his son Christopher (19) during a “tussle” in a caravan in Edenderry, Co Offaly, in 1999.

During his trial, it emerged Groome had started shouting at his son for going to bed fully dressed.

Christopher confronted him and was fatally stabbed with a kitchen knife.

In Buttle’s trial, Sheffield Crown Court was told that Groome had some 94 convictions, including some for burglary and breaching bail conditions.

The court was told that Buttle and Groome were in a relationship for 10 years.

June-kill.jpg
June Buttle (56)

June Buttle

It’s believed Groome was killed on New Year’s Day 2010 following an argument.

Yesterday, the court was told Buttle hit Groome over the head with a piece of wood before dismembering his body.

She then posed as him on Facebook, updating posts and sending messages to his family in Ireland.

The court heard that Buttle attempted to access Groome’s bank accounts where he had €150,000 stored. The money was awarded to Groome after it was found he was abused as a child in a care home.

The court was told that Buttle admitted on two occasions to dismembering his body. She has never named her accomplice.

Yesterday, she pleaded guilty to manslaughter, fraud and conspiracy to prevent burial of a corpse.

Prosecuting counsel Adrian Waterman told the court the killing took place at the home of Jason Thaxter in Doncaster, England, on New Year’s Day 2010 following an argument. Mr Thaxter is Buttle’s son.

According to Mr Waterman, Buttle and Thaxter hit him over the head with a piece of wood. Thaxter has never been charged.

The court also heard that Buttle was sexually exploited by Groome, who made her work as a prostitute.

DEVASTATED

Groome’s sister Bridget described her brother as a “much loved dad, son, brother, partner, grandad and uncle”.

She told the court his body “has still not been found”.

“We are devastated that we have been unable to lay him to rest in a place where we can visit and remember him and give him the funeral he deserves,” she added.

“June Buttle was welcomed into our family,” she continued.

“She spent the last five years lying about Tommy’s whereabouts, leading us to believe he was still alive when all along she knew what had happened to him.

“She is heartless and cruel and we will never forgive her.”

hnews@herald.ie

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