In the Media

Provoked ex-lover jailed for strangling tycoon's daughter

PUBLISHED June 21, 2006

An impoverished unemployed salesman who killed the daughter of one of Britain's wealthiest men was jailed yesterday for eight and a half years.

George Holtby, 38, was cleared of murdering Suzy Healey, who he strangled days before her 40th birthday and left naked on a double bed in her country home.

But he was formally convicted of manslaughter by reason of provocation at the end of a seven-day trial at Hull Crown Court.

The jury heard that the two had had a nine-month "on off" relationship and had once planned to get married.

Miss Healy, whose father Malcolm made much of his ?740 million fortune when he sold his Hygena kitchen business, lived in a ?1.9 million mansion.

The only assets of Holtby, who once told a former girlfriend that he would be a millionaire by the time he was 30, were a piano and a small pension plan.

Both were heavy drinkers and on the day of her killing she had been holding a pre-birthday celebration with friends before he called at her home at Ellerker Hall, East Yorkshire.

He claimed that they had gone to bed together and he had "snapped" when she taunted him by telling him to "make a better job of it" than another lover.

Holtby closed his eyes momentarily as the jury of six men and six women returned its verdicts.

Miss Healey, a divorced mother of two, suffered from bipolar disorder and was said to have frequently told Holtby, of South Cave, East Yorkshire, to leave the house only for him to return later.

Mr Justice Wilkie said: "Whatever her difficulties, which were essentially not of her own making, she did not remotely deserve to die at your hands."

He said the jury had concluded that Holtby was guilty of manslaughter by reason of provocation and he must sentence him on that basis. He added: "In this case, I am satisfied you were subjected to a low degree of provocation."