Man jailed for murdering schoolteacher wife as young son slept upstairs

A man has been jailed for life with a minimum term of 18 years for murdering his wife in their kitchen as their son slept upstairs.

Conrad Iyayi stabbed Kathryn Iyayi, known as Katy Harris, seven times in the chest at their home in Oak Crescent, Littleover, Derby, in February 2022.

Ms Harris, a 52-year-old art teacher for SEND children and mother-of-three, suffered “a violent death” at the hands of Iyayi, who had taken methadone and drunk alcohol before the killing, prosecutor Gordon Aspden KC said.

Iyayi, 46, had already admitted manslaughter but pleaded guilty to murder on the second day of his trial at Derby Crown Court on August 2.

Sentencing him at the same court on Friday, Judge Shaun Smith KC said the attack was “determined and sustained”.

He said: “It was a brutal, frenzied killing and a needless death.

“In truth, only two people know what happened.

“Kathryn is dead and you have never really revealed the full truth, although there is a strong suggestion that drugs and alcohol played a role in what happened.

“Whatever happened, she did not need to lose her life.

“She was entitled at the very least to be safe in her home.”

Mr Aspden told the court that Iyayi had used three kitchen knives to attack his wife after watching Match Of The Day with their young son on the evening of February 5 last year.

He said: “At the time of the murder, the couple’s 11-year-old son, Theo, was asleep in his bedroom upstairs, but mercifully it does not appear that he was disturbed by what his father was doing to his mother elsewhere in the house.”

It is believed Iyayi murdered his wife between Theo going to bed at midnight and 3am on February 6, when he was seen on CCTV walking his dog wearing a coat later found stained with his wife’s blood.

Iyayi rang the police at around 7.30am and said: “I think my wife might be dead, I’m not saying anything, I just want a solicitor.”

She literally must have been fighting for her life during what must have been a terrifying final ordealGordon Aspden KC

Ms Harris was pronounced dead at the scene, with Theo awoken and removed from the house and Iyayi arrested.

Mr Aspden said: “He [Iyayi] made a number of unsolicited comments concerning Katy’s death.

“He said it all felt like a dream and the situation, in his words, was ‘crazy’.

“His demeanour was remarkably calm and controlled given the dreadful circumstances of what had happened.”

In a prepared statement read in a police interview, Iyayi said he had taken methadone bought from the “dark web” prior to the murder.

He claimed that the substance had an unanticipated effect, which led him to believe he had taken a “mind-altering” hallucinogenic and had murdered his wife in a dream, only to discover her body hours later.

But later tests showed Iyayi had taken prescription methadone, as well as prescribed anti-depressants and painkillers, rather than an unknown substance as he had claimed.

Our mum was the light in the lives of so many people, whereas he encapsulates darknessChildren of Katy Harris

Injuries to Ms Harris’ hands were evidence, Mr Aspden said, that “she literally must have been fighting for her life during what must have been a terrifying final ordeal”.

In a victim impact statement read by Mr Aspden, Theo said he felt “betrayed” by the defendant and had struggled at school as a result of the murder.

He said: “He is not my father and I want nothing to do with him again.”

In their statement, Ms Harris’ grown-up daughters Phoebe and Alexa said: “We don’t feel anything towards him. We are numb.

“We don’t see him as a human being as anyone with any humanity could not take someone else’s life in the way that he did.

“He is sinister, sadistic and manipulative. We feel betrayed.

“We cannot comprehend how one person has affected so many people’s lives.

“Our mum was the light in the lives of so many people, whereas he encapsulates darkness.”

Iyayi, who sat silently looking at the floor throughout, has previous convictions for assault, affray and burglary among others.

Amjad Malik KC, mitigating, said Iyayi did not remember all of what happened but that it “will always haunt him” and he “cannot explain” the murder.

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