Former lover found guilty of murdering young mum Jade

Victim Jade Watson

Victim Jade Watson

First published in News Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Photograph of the Author by , T&A Reporter

The family of a young woman wept and cheered as her former boyfriend was found guilty of her murder.

James Gray, 25, had denied the murder of the mother-of-two Jade Watson in a caravan at the back of his home in Wood Lane, Swain House, Bradford on the afternoon of November 5 last year, but had admitted her manslaughter.

But the jury took just two hours to reach its verdict yesterday afternoon.

A large number of Miss Watson’s family members who attended the hearing gave an emotional reaction as he was found guilty.

Gray will be sentenced at Bradford Crown Court on Monday.

The jury was previously told Gray attacked Miss Watson, 22, of Wrose, Shipley, after she told him she had started a relationship with Christopher Gill and no longer wanted to see him.

The jury heard after putting both of his hands around Miss Watson’s neck as she tried to escape the caravan, Gray picked up a solid bike lock off the draining board and struck her on the forehead with it.

Gray, a sales assistant at a builder’s merchant, said the couple had had an “intense argument” in the caravan and his “mind had gone” and was “completely overwhelmed” when he struck Miss Watson.

After she fell to the floor, Gray shook Miss Watson and unsuccessfully felt her neck and wrist for a pulse and could also not sense a heart-beat.

Gray said he felt “disgusted” after seeing the blood-stained bike lock, panicked and threw it over the garden fence after leaving the caravan.

She was making plans for life away from Bradford on the day she was strangled.

She phoned a school near Tadcaster to ask about possible places for her two children.

Gray and Miss Watson separated in May 2013 but continued to meet in secret at various locations.

Mr Gill said he met Miss Watson on the internet and was seeing her regularly. She told him her relationship with Gray had finished.

Meanwhile, colleagues at the In Plaice fish and chip shop on Sunbridge Road in Bradford city centre, where Miss Watson had worked since being a schoolgirl, were pleased with the verdict.

Barbara Birkett, who had known her for the seven years she has worked at the shop, said: “I hope he gets life and they don’t let him out.

“A life sentence here isn’t life, but it should be.

“Jade was a really happy-go-lucky girl, she was making a new life with a new boyfriend.

“She had been here since she was 15. I have been here seven years and had known her all that time,” she said.

Staff had found out about the murder when Miss Watson’s mother made a heartbreaking phone call to break the news of her death.

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