A ‘heartless and cruel’ prostitute has been jailed for 16 years after sensationally confessing to killing her partner and trying to plunder his bank account - five years after his death.
Thomas Groome’s body has never been found but Sheffield Crown Court heard it had been chopped into pieces and put on a bonfire.
Mr Groome’s partner June Buttle, aged 56, pleaded guilty to his manslaughter the day before her trial for murder.
She has refused to tell police where his body is or name her accomplice.
But in confessions to two people she told them she and her son killed Mr Groome and his body had been chopped into pieces and burnt.
Today Mr Groome’s sister Bridget said her brother was a ‘much loved dad, son brother, partner grandad and uncle’ who was a ‘larger than life character’ who ‘loved to sing’.
She said: “For the last five years we have hoped and prayed that Tommy was still alive but our worst fears became a reality when we were told he had been killed. “However, 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 that he deserves.”
”June Buttle was welcomed into our family. 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.”
Adrian Waterman QC, prosecuting said the killing took place at the home of Jason Thaxter - Buttle’s son - in Exeter Road, Weatley, Doncaster, on New Year’s Day 2010 after the couple had an argument.
Mr Waterman said Buttle and Mr Thaxter hit him once over the head once each with a piece of wood.
It is alleged Mr Thaxter, who has never been charged with any offence, disposed of the body.
Mr Waterman said: “Thomas Groome was last seen on the morning of New Year’s Day 2010 .
“June Buttle accepts the reason he has not been seen or heard of is that she and another killed him, disposed of his body to cover up his death, took money from his bank accounts and tried to take a great deal more.
“She has over seven years lied and lied again to try to cover up what happened.”
The court heard Buttle was sexually exploited by Mr Groome, her partner of ten years, who made her work as a prostitute.
Mr Waterman said in 2009 Mr Groome was awarded 150,000 Euros compensation for sexual abuse he suffered while growing up in a state institution in Ireland.
He planned to move to Portugal with Buttle and start a new life in 2010 but she didn’t want to go.
Mr Waterman said Buttle, of Concord Way, Doncaster, was angry Mr Groome hadn’t given her any cash and after his death tried to steal his money.
After the killing Buttle posted messages from his Facebook account to dupe his family into thinking he was still alive and told them he had left her for a younger woman. She pleaded guilty to manslaughter, fraud and conspiracy to prevent burial of a corpse.
Jailing her Mrs Justice Geraldine Andrews told Buttle: “You have lied so much and so continuously that it is difficult to separate the truth from fiction.”
She said Buttle had gone to ‘enormous’ lengths to cover her tracks and hadn’t shown the slightest shred of remorse.
After the hearing detective superintendent Lisa Ray said at its height more than 100 police officers had worked on the £1million inquiry in South Yorkshire, Ireland and Portugal.
She said: “My thoughts are with the family of Mr Groome and while there will still be untold grief for them because of Buttle’s actions, I hope today they do feel some sense of justice has been served knowing she has been sentence for her crimes.”