The independent London newspaper

Man who killed three partners over 35 years pleads guilty to murder

Theodore Johnson will be sentenced on Friday

02 January, 2018 — By William McLennan

Johnson has killed three women since 1981

A MAN who murdered his former girlfriend in Dartmouth Park shortly before Christmas last year had killed two pervious partners, it can be revealed today.

Theodore Johnson admitted murdering Angela Best at his home in Dartmouth Park Hill on December 15 last year. He had attacked her with a claw hammer and strangled her with a dressing gown cord.

The 64-year-old, who worked at a motor garage in Tottenham, then drove to Hertfordshire and threw himself in front of a train.

He suffered massive injuries, including the loss of both arms, and was rushed to the Royal London hospital where doctors saved his life. He was charged with murder at the end of January after weeks of intensive care.

Following his guilty plea at the Old Bailey today, his history of violence against women can be made public.

In May 1981, while living in Wolverhampton, he attacked his wife Yvonne Johnson, and pushed her from the balcony of their ninth-floor flat. He was convicted of manslaughter in November 1981.

Just five years later he moved to London with a new partner, Yvonne Bennett, having been released from custody. In September 1992, he strangled her with a belt at their flat in Finsbury Park and then carried out a failed suicide attempt. He pleaded guilty to manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility.

It is believed that towards the end of their relationship, which had ended several months before the murder, Ms Best had learnt of at least one of these previous killings.

He had early pleaded not guilty to murdering Ms Best, but today (Tuesday) changed his plea at the last-minute.

Judge Richard Marks told jurors, who had been expecting to sit through a lengthy murder trial: “It does sometimes happen that there is a change of position at the 11th hour and 59th minute.”

He said that Johnson had admitted killing Ms Best, but had pleaded guilty to manslaughter, not murder, due to diminished responsibility.

“That is what the trial was going to be about, whether it was murder or manslaughter.”

He will be sentenced on Friday.

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