Darfield man jailed for murdering wife

Murder victim Chantelle Barnsdale-Quean, whose husband Stephen has been jailed.
Murder victim Chantelle Barnsdale-Quean, whose husband Stephen has been jailed.
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A 43-year-old man who killed his wife and then claimed he had been the victim of a “frenzied attack” has been jailed for her murder.

Stephen Barnsdale-Quean denied murdering Chantelle Barnsdale-Quean at their home in Upperwood Road, Darfield, on March 4.

Instead, Barnsdale-Quean told police his 36-year-old wife had attacked him, leaving him unconscious and therefore had no knowledge of her death.

However, following a two-week trial at Sheffield Crown Court, he was found guilty of the crime and handed a life sentence, to serve a minimum of 18 years, by the judge today.

Detective Inspector Kevin Brown, who led the investigation, said: “This was an unprovoked and senseless killing which has left two young girls without a mother.

“Stephen Barnsdale-Quean not only murdered his wife but in a cowardly attempt to cover his tracks, instead claimed that he was attacked by Chantelle and stabbed himself in a bid to prove his story.

“He then subjected his wife’s family to the trauma of a trial, showing a blatant disregard for the welfare of his young children and no remorse for his actions.”

Police were alerted to the incident after Barnsdale-Quean called for an ambulance stating he had been injured. When paramedics arrived, they found him unconscious in the hallway and the body of his wife in the bedroom.

A post-mortem examination concluded that she died of strangulation.

Barnsdale-Quean had sustained two stab wounds to his stomach, which he claimed were caused when his wife attacked him.

The court heard how officers found no visible signs of a disturbance and how the injuries he sustained could have been self-inflicted.

DI Brown added: “This was a difficult investigation for all those involved and I would like to take this opportunity to thank the inquiry team for their professionalism and commitment in retrieving every possible shred of evidence in order to successfully build a strong case against Barnsdale-Quean.

“My thoughts remain with Chantelle’s family and we will continue to support them at this difficult time.”

Susan Benson, Chantelle’s mother, released a statement on behalf of the family. She said: “My loving daughter Chantelle was cruelly taken away from our family and my grandchildren will now not have their mother with them at important times in their lives, such as school proms, graduations and weddings. The whole family feel a terrible void without Chantelle in their lives.

“We are satisfied with the sentence but unfortunately, it will not bring Chantelle back. We have had to listen in court to a suggestion that Chantelle committed suicide when we know as a family she had everything to live for, especially her two beautiful daughters.

“I would also like to take this opportunity to thank the police for their determination to put all available evidence before the court. The support provided by the Family Liaison Officers and the Investigation team has been excellent and provided us with comfort through some difficult days.”