'Becky's story may never be told'

by Julie Bartram THE only thing Becky Kemp ever did wrong was to love the man who killed her, say her mum and dad.

They say claims that Becky was having an affair are unfounded and hurtful.

Parents Elaine and Graham Shaw, of Sunny Bank Road, Mirfield, have spoken following the sentencing of Gary Kemp who killed Becky on August 6, 2006.

Kemp, 50, of Norristhorpe Avenue, Liversedge, was jailed for life for murdering Becky, pictured right, and ordered to serve a minimum of 14 years. He had denied the charge at a previous hearing, only changing it shortly before the trial was due to start.

Graham and Elaine say the public will now never know the whole story.

Elaine said: "It hurts because all that came out in court is the supposed affair Becky had. That whole issue only came up a couple of weeks before he did what he did and there was nothing to say it was true. I don't know when she'd have had time to have an affair."

Her parents are also upset Kemp did not get a longer minimum sentence – although they accept that Kemp's is one of the most severe punishments the Recorder of Leeds, Judge Norman Jones QC, has ever given.

Hairdresser Becky met Gary when he was a doorman at the Frontier nightclub in Batley. Elaine said: "The first time we met him we were amazed. I said to Becky he looked a lot older than her. But she said he was lovely and really quiet."

It was not long before Becky and her nine-year-old son Tyler moved in with Gary, who was then living in Chickenley. They later moved to Norristhorpe Avenue.

The couple married in 2001, but not before Becky signed a pre-nuptial agreement. Elaine said: "We laughed about that at the time and said he must have thought he was living in America.

"It was always little things that we didn't really think about at the time with him. "They seemed funny, but it's not until you start putting things together, that you get a bigger picture of what he was like. She kept things to herself."

Graham said he would often ask Becky why she was with Kemp as their marriage hit problems. "But she loved him. That was something that was in all of the evidence, just how much she loved him despite everything," said Graham.

The court heard about two previous occasions when Kemp was violent towards Becky. The first was June 2006, but it did not stop Becky going away with Kemp the following month. They went to Turkey with Tyler and one of his friends. Elaine said: "We were worried about her going, but she said he knew he'd done wrong."

But just a few days into the holiday Becky phoned her parents and asked them to book flights home. Kemp had assaulted her again. When Becky returned she moved into her parents' home with Tyler, filed for divorce and contacted the police about the assaults.

Elaine said: "They told her they'd arrest him that weekend, but they never did.

"We can't help but think if they had, then he'd have known the police were on to him and maybe things wouldn't have gone so far." Graham added: "We weren't very impressed with uniformed police. The homicide unit were fantastic, but uniform weren't there when we really needed help."

At this point Kemp had told people he was planning on killing Becky.

The night he carried out the threat was the first evening Becky had been out since returning from Turkey, almost two weeks earlier. Her parents were worried about her going. Elaine said: "There was just something about it that didn't feel right, call it mother's instinct. I think I was more scared than she was. She just said she couldn't just stay at home and let him control her life."

But Kemp attacked Becky in the early hours as she walked home with friend Philip Stanley. Her parents found out later that morning.

Her mum said: "I woke up and the passage light was on. I said to Graham that she must have left it on when she came in. I thought I'd heard her come back."

Elaine began looking for her daughter but she was not in the house.

"Then I saw a policeman walking up the path and I just knew straight away," said Elaine.

Kemp was arrested the same day after he rang police and told them what he had done.

But even when Kemp was on remand, he was still able to get to the family.

He wrote to Tyler. The letter began: "Hi, it's your dad here" and invited the boy to visit him in Armley Prison.

Elaine said: "He's not even his dad. I just couldn't believe how that letter got through, I thought they were meant to be checked. To send that to a minor when he'd killed his mum is just unbelievable."

Tyler is now living with his grandparents who say although he is still angry they, and the rest of Becky's close family, are persevering.

Elaine said: "Becky lived for Tyler and was always loving, kissing and cuddling him. She was a lovely, lovely lass, always laughing and joking.

"The only thing Becky was guilty of was loving Gary."

A police spokeswoman said: "We did receive an allegation of assault that happened abroad; however we were not able to progress this matter further as it did not occur within our jurisdiction.

"We were due to speak to a 50 year old man in relation to other unrelated matters and this was explained to the family at the time."