'Evil monster' stabbed wife to death and cut body into over 200 pieces

5 April 2024, 21:26 | Updated: 5 April 2024, 21:48

Nicholas Metson (right) has pleaded guilty to the murder of 26-year-old Holly Bramley
Nicholas Metson (right) has pleaded guilty to the murder of 26-year-old Holly Bramley. Picture: Lincolnshire Police

By Flaminia Luck

An "evil monster" stabbed his wife to death then cut up her body into more than 200 pieces, a court has heard.

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The remains of 26-year-old Holly Bramley (née Metson) were discovered in the River Witham in Lincolnshire in early 2023.

Nicholas Metson, 28, initially denied the killing but later pleaded guilty to murder at Lincoln Crown Court in February.

Metson, who is due to be sentenced next week, could face life for his wife's murder.

The court also heard he paid his friend to dispose of his wife's remains after they were kept hidden for nearly a week in their flat.

Lincolnshire Police were called to the couple's flat in Shuttleworth House on 24 March 2023
Lincolnshire Police were called to the couple's flat in Shuttleworth House on 24 March 2023. Picture: Google Maps

Prosecutor Gordon Aspden KC told the judge officers were called to the couple's flat on 24 March 2023 because of a concern for Ms Bramley's welfare.

The next day officers visited the address and noticed a strong smell of ammonia and bleach, bloodstained sheets in the bathtub and a towel on the kitchen floor.

There was also evidence of recent redecoration and cleaning.

The police also spotted a number of large dark stains on the floor in the main bedroom, which later turned out to be Holly's blood, Mr Aspden said.

Metson told officers his wife had been abusive to him, showing them a bite mark on his forearm, and she had left home with a local mental health support group on 19 March.

Read more: Murderer of PC Sharon Beshenivsky 'tried to fake his own death twice to trick police'

Police later found Metson had told lies to officers, who returned to conduct a search of the flat.

Mr Aspen said: "At one point Mr Metson joked she might be hiding under the bed."

The next day a walker "made a grim discovery" when he noticed plastic bags floating in the River Witham in the village of Bassingham, roughly 12 miles from Lincoln.

A member of the public noticed a number of shopping bags floating in the River Witham, in Bassingham
A member of the public noticed a number of shopping bags floating in the River Witham, in Bassingham. Picture: Google Images

One of these contained a human hand, he said.

Police divers recovered 224 remains of Ms Bramley's body from the bags but parts of her heart, lungs and fingers were still missing, the court heard.

It took a pathologist over 13 hours to examine all of her remains and the body was so badly damaged they were unable to establish the exact cause of death.

However, she had suffered several stab wounds.

Police later seized a set of garden pruners, two knives and a claw hammer from Metson's flat.

Mr Aspen said it was likely Ms Bramley was stabbed multiple times in the bedroom before being dismembered in the bathroom.

Her remains were then stored in the kitchen larder.

He said the bite mark on Metson's arm "suggests she was being restrained in a headlock".

Read more: 'Heartbroken': Tributes for teenager, 17, stabbed to death in Manchester as murder investigation continues

After murdering his wife, Metson withdrew £50 from her bank account and searched on the internet with questions such as "What benefits do I get if my wife has died" and "Can someone haunt me after they die".

CCTV footage played in court showed Ms Bramley was last seen alive returning to her flat on 17 March.

More footage showed Metson wearing a rucksack and using the flat's lift to move bags from the 14th floor to the ground floor in the early hours of 25 March.

Nicholas Metson is due to be sentenced after pleading guilty to murder
Nicholas Metson is due to be sentenced after pleading guilty to murder. Picture: Lincolnshire Police

The court heard Metson had previous convictions for offences against former partners in 2013, 2016 and 2017.

It was also heard the couple had married in 2021 after forming a relationship in October 2016 but were on the verge of separating when Metson carried out the murder.

'Life sentence of grief'

In a victim impact statement read out in court by Ms Bramley's mother and siblings show she had been subjected to "coercive control and manipulation" by the "evil monster".

They said the couple's marriage had "broken down irretrievably".

Annette Bramley, addressed Metson directly, telling him he had condemned her family to a "life sentence of grief".

"The heinous way in which she was murdered and dismembered has left us in such unimaginable pain," she said.

Mrs Bramley said Metson's controlling and coercive behaviour had also left the family unable to see Holly in the years before her death.

Read more: Woman jailed for eleven years for killing couple twerking in her car when she flipped it over

Metson previously admitted conspiracy to pervert the course of justice by disposing of Ms Bramley's body on 25 March 2023.

He originally denied murder but later pleaded guilty when he appeared at Lincoln Crown Court last month.

During sentencing on Friday, His Honour Judge Simon Hirst was told Metson never gave a reason for how and why he had killed his wife.

Joshua Hancock, 28, of Walnut Close, Waddington, pleaded guilty to disposal of a corpse with intent to obstruct or prevent a coroner’s inquest.

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