A MAN who almost split his partner’s liver in two has been convicted of murder.

Charlie Booth, 27, of Albert Road, in Saltaire, was found guilty of murder at Leeds Crown Court on Tuesday.

Judge Andrew Stubbs KC told Booth: "Your sentence will be one of life imprisonment," adding that the length of time until he is considered for parole on licence will be decided on Thursday morning.

The 27-year-old had already admitted to killing his partner of 11 years and mother of his two children, Lauren Howe, on July 24 last year.

RECAP: Live coverage of the sentencing as it happened 

His defence, and version of events, was that he punched Ms Howe in the stomach “without thinking” but the 12 jurors have decided Booth did in fact intend to cause serious harm or kill his partner.

The jury had been out deliberating for just under a day before returning a verdict on Tuesday, with the trial beginning on January 25.

Booth murdered the mother of his children in a “jealous rage” on July 24, fatally injuring her liver – suffering a 10cm long and 5cm deep laceration that led to catastrophic bleeding.

It was an injury that forensic pathologist Kirsten Hope told the court she only normally sees in relation to road traffic collisions or a fall from a significant height, like the first, second or even third floor of a building.

Ms Howe also had 42 external injuries, including bruises, grazes and lacerations, which were picked up in the post-mortem. 

Some of these were deemed to likely be from medical intervention - CPR and injecting adrenaline - but some, such as those on the backs of Ms Howe's hands, could have been defensive injuries, as Booth rained blows on Ms Howe.

Those who tried to desperately save Ms Howe outside the flats where Booth had brought her body said she looked “blue”, “grey” and “lifeless”.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: A police cordon in place after the murder in Baildon A police cordon in place after the murder in Baildon

The prosecution claimed Booth tortured Ms Howe in their flat off Tennis Way – where they had lived for around four years – and hit her “harder than he had ever hit her before." 

She had walked home from a party, taking roughly two hours, and returned at around 8.30am.

Within less than an hour, Booth was carrying her “lifeless” body out from the flat to outside a neighbour’s property, desperately seeking help.

LOOK BACK: How T&A covered the murder on the day 

Booth had been ringing various people on the phone he shared with Ms Howe throughout the night to try locate her.

This included her sister, Leigha Howe, who had invited Ms Howe round to her's, before she moved onto the party.

Booth had also been out to various places that evening and visited a friend, Jason Bass, at one point.

They took crack cocaine together and Mr Bass told the court that Booth talked about a "devil and angel on his shoulder" just hours before killing his partner. 

Rumours had also been circulating about "another man" - Oliver Kenny - in the week leading up to Ms Howe's death.

This was first raised when Booth was at a friends’ – Donna Dosanjh and Peter Pollock - where it was said Mr Kenny – a friend of Booth’s – had been seeing and sleeping with Ms Howe for a year.


This was founded to be untrue and Booth's defence barrister, Frida Hussain KC, put it that the issue had been resolved but Mr Bass said the 27-year-old had the question of infidelity in his mind the night before murdering Ms Howe.

Paramedics worked on Ms Howe at the scene but she died there, with her death later certified at hospital.

The court heard over the course of the trial that the relationship - which began when they were both 14 to 15, the age they had their first child too – was volatile.

Witnesses, including Stevie Hodgson-Curtley - a friend of Ms Howe's - and two of her sisters - Leigha and 18-year-old Lily Anne Howe - told the jury of a number of instances where Booth had been violent towards his partner.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus:

This included punching Ms Howe in her face while she had hold of one of their children and headbutting her in a snicket before dragging her by her hair down Haworth Road.

Ms Howe's older sister, Bethany Howe, said she had seen Booth lose his temper at 

"It could start from anything if pots and pans had not been washed, if LH had not tidied up."

"It was only when he'd drink, the anger came out truly."

Booth himself said there were trust issues and that there was violence on both parts.

He admitted to developing issues with alcohol and taking cocaine regularly by the time he killed Ms Howe.

The jury heard Booth abused substances as a form of "escapism" after he was abducted and raped at knifepoint by a convicted murderer out on licence when he was 10.

But the 27-year-old said cocaine had stopped helping him in this way and had become more of a habit.

Booth will be sentenced on Thursday morning at 10am, at Leeds Crown Court.