Police release text messages that helped convict murderer

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Chilling text messages that helped convict a murderer who stabbed a pub worker to death have been released by police.

Georgina Henshaw sent threats hours before she stabbed friend Philip Rolph, 65, once in the heart in Chelmsley Wood.

Today, a jury convicted Henshaw of murder (27th February). The 36-year-old was jailed for life and ordered to serve a minimum of 16 years at Birmingham Crown Court.

A West Midlands Police investigation uncovered a history of violence and erratic behaviour in Henshaw’s past.

Henshaw, a heavy drinker, slashed a previous boyfriend with a knife and had accused Mr Rolph of attacking her, although never reported it to police.

On the day of the murder, a ‘panicked’ Henshaw spoke to a friend on the phone, saying: “I’ve stabbed him. What if I’ve killed him?”

At 12.30am on 6th July last year, Rolph phoned his partner and heard him say: “Can you help me, I’ve been stabbed.”

She rushed to the scene and Mr Rolph was taken to hospital by ambulance, but later died.

Henshaw had sent a message to her victim and phoned him following the attack, and police arrested her at her home in Alder Drive, just round the corner from where Mr Rolph was found on Greenlands Road, a short time later.

The moment was caught on body worn video camera, worn by an increasing number of officers to gather evidence and provide greater transparency in police work. The footage shows how Henshaw claimed she did not even know Mr Rolph was dead.

When her phone was seized, police found text messages to a friend sent just before the attack.

She claimed Mr Rolph had put a knife to her throat in the days leading up to the killing.

One message said: “I’m set up to commit murder.” Another said she was ready to ‘cosh him to death, while another said: “I’m gonna lure him over and ruin him. I might go down for it.”

But after the attack, she sent a message saying: “hey babe, you ok, why you not answering me.”

She refused to answer any questions in interview. A knife believed to be the murder weapon was found in the back garden of a home near to Henshaw’s.

A baton found at her home added to the evidence showing Henshaw was prepared to use violence on the night.

Det Sgt Nick Barnes, from WMP homicide unit, said: “This was a calculated, pre-meditated murder where the text messages recovered from the killer’s phone clearly demonstrated her desire to murder Mr Rolph.

“She was never shown any remorse.

The text messages were conclusive and damning evidence, which clearly helped the jury to come to the natural conclusion that she was the only person responsible.”

“She was arrested around three hours after she’d killed Mr Rolph. At the time, she said she hadn’t seen him that night. This was a lie, and the footage shows her feigning shock and disbelief at his death.

“This was all a futile attempt to cover up what she had done. She’ll now have plenty time to reflect on that.”

Today, a statement from Mr Rolph’s family said: “On the 7th July 2017, our lives changed forever when our father, grandfather and brother was suddenly taken from us by the evil action of Georgina Henshaw.

“Our father did nothing more other than to help her when she repaid him by stabbing him to death. “We find some peace in the right verdict being reached in this court case and the person responsible has been convicted of the crime she has committed, however no sentence issued will bring our father, grandfather and brother back.

“Our family has been given the life sentence. We will never get to see our loved one again or share those special moments.

“We would like to thank West Midlands Police for all their hard work in bringing Georgina Henshaw to justice. We would especially like to thank them for Vanessa our Family Liaison Officer. Without her support our family would not have been able to cope.

“We would also like to thank Rachel Brand QC for her good work during the trial which resulted in Georgina Henshaw being convicted.”

Read more: https://www.west-midlands.police.uk/news/5100/new-video-shows-murderer-being-arrested-her-own-home