A man stabbed his partner 59 times then phoned police and calmly confessed: "I killed my wife…she was driving me crazy".
Laurens Brand used two kitchen knives to repeatedly stab "beautiful" Angela Mittal in the neck and chest after he was made to sleep in the study following a row on Christmas Day.
He crept up on Mrs Mittal at around 5am as she lay in their marital bed and attacked her with such ferocity in the neck and chest that the knife snapped in half.
The 47-year-old then went back to the kitchen, grabbed a serrated bread knife, and returned to the bedroom to continue stabbing his 41-year-old wife, prosecutor Matthew Walsh told the court.
Brand was today locked up for 16 years and eight months after the "vicious attack" on Mrs Mittal last Boxing Day – days after she began divorce proceedings.
Sentencing Brand, Judge Heather Norton said: "You stabbed your wife in the bedroom of the family home. Your attack on her was ferocious. You stabbed your wife no fewer than 59 times.
"At some point in the course of that attack, one knife broke. You left the room, you went to the kitchen, you fetched another knife and then returned.
"The forensic evidence suggests that your wife was alive and struggling to defend herself though much of that attack. She would undoubtedly, in my judgement, have suffered fear and pain."
Brand had physically and emotionally abused his formerly bubbly and outgoing wife, the court heard.
She had lived in fear for years after they had returned from Rotterdam in Holland, where they had met and married in 2006.
Brand had previously said his wife "drove him mad" when she called police to report that he had punched her as she slept.
She also instructed solicitors to begin divorce proceedings on December 21, 2018, days before she was murdered.
Mrs Mittal's older sister told the court: "I hope he is haunted by Angela, that he sees her face at every moment of his existence."
Brand's defence lawyer, Alan Kent QC told the court Mrs Mittal had been described as someone who "craved attention" and "loved a drama".
The couple had spent the evening of Christmas Day last year together at the family home in Shinfield, near Reading in Berkshire.
Brand had begged her not to divorce him.
Then in the early hours of Boxing Day, following a fierce marital row, he saw that his wife had transferred £35,000 from their joint account into her personal account.
It was then that he realised she was determined to end their troubled marriage, a court heard.
Speaking before a packed public gallery filled with Mrs Mittal's family, including her father and two sisters, prosecutor Mr Walsh said: "The case, we summarise in these three words: brutal, sustained and determined.
"Mrs Mittal died from stab wounds to the neck and chest, 59 sharp force injuries. There is a wound which passed through the third rib itself, through bone structure, showing the severe force employed.
"Some of the injuries were caused by a blade with a serrated edge, consistent with a bread knife. Blood spatter analysis showed traces of blood downstairs in the kitchen, and the hallway, and the stairs, suggestive that there had been an attack in the bedroom and that the defendant then went back downstairs to obtain a second knife after the first had been broken, and that he went back upstairs with the second knife and continued the attack."
After showering, wiping up some of the blood, and putting his blood stained pyjamas into the washing machine instead of calling an ambulance, Brand phoned police and told them he had killed his wife.
In a clip of the phone call, released by Thames Valley Police, Brand is heard saying: "Could you please send the police, I killed my wife.
"My wife is driving me crazy for some time already and she was going to leave me."
Asked by the operator how long ago it had happened, he replied: "I don't know, 45 minutes I think."
He continued: "I stabbed her."
And when officers arrived, Brand told them: "I'm sorry I did it, but she drove me crazy. I still love her."
Mr Walsh said: "There is no definitive trigger for what took place. The defendant gave no explanation in interview as to what took place or what led him to carry out the attack.
"But the court may well conclude that what may have been the actual trigger was a bank transfer of £35,000 from their joint bank account to Mrs Mittal's personal account."
He added that CCTV recovered from a neighbour showed what appeared to be the glow of a device screen in the study where Brand was sleeping shortly before the attack, followed by lights being turned on in his room and the kitchen.
The court heard how on November 29 last year, Ms Mittal had called police and attended a police station where she told them she was really scared that Brand was monitoring her calls and had told her not to speak to her family.
Brand had himself called police the next day, Mr Walsh said, and said: "Angela drove him mad. He had been pushed to the limits. In all honesty, he said, I can't control myself anymore."
In a series of speeches crackling with emotion, Mrs Mittal's family told of their heartbreak and looked directly at Brand, who they called inhuman.
Bharat Mittal, her father, said: "Angela was our youngest of three daughters. Her life was tragically cut short by the horrific actions of her husband.
"He committed an inhuman act of despicable cruelty upon our daughter. He violated our daughter's body by brutally murdering her.
"She was reduced from a happy, intelligent, capable woman to a woman concerned about doing whatever was necessary to save her marriage. She became convinced that she was inadequate, she was constantly trying to prove herself.
"She paid the ultimate price for finally speaking up. We know she was strong and would have found the strength to fight hard as long as she could, to the bitter end, before she was brutally murdered."
Mr Mittal's voice broke as delivered his speech, but he continued to say: "The thought of the pain and suffering Angela experienced and felt in her dying moments makes us shiver. We are heartbroken and feel like a piece of our heart has been lost.
"She wanted to walk away peacefully, and how we just wish he could have done the same that morning and just let her go peacefully."
Older sister Parita Singla looked at Brand, who she would only refer to as LB, and said: "I think of how she must have known she was breathing her last breath and that the person she trusted and loved, and who was supposed to protect her, was actually brutally murdering her.
"I often wonder if she could feel her heart breaking.
"I hope he's haunted by Angela, that he sees her face at every moment of his existence. I hope that memory of what he did blights his own future."
Blonde-haired Brand, who wore glasses, sat in the dock in Reading Crown Court and listened to his wife's family – he kept his left hand to his mouth which showed he was still wearing his wedding ring.
He had formally admitted the killing at a pre-trial hearing at Reading Crown Court on March 22.
Alan Kent QC pointed to this in mitigation and said: "Mr Brand has not pleaded guilty in order to save public money, but he has pleaded guilty because he is genuinely remorseful about what he has done."
He continued: "There is another side, apart from what Angela would be telling the family about what was happening, another side she was telling friends what was happening, and another side to the events that were leading up to the breakdown of the marriage.
"Throughout 2018, she changed and he changed. She re-evaluated the relationship. It seems that Angela wanted to be popular – utterly understandable.
"She wanted a network of friends, and she went out regularly with those friends. She started businesses with his support and help. He never stopped her."
Referring to statements made by people who knew the couple, Mr Kent said Mrs Mittal had been described as someone who was, "dominant, loud, loved a drama, and did like to tell stories for attention."
Mr Kent said Mrs Mittal had implied to friends she was sleeping with the site foreman who worked in the new-build buildings where she lived, and that she did not want to save her marriage with Brand.
He told the court: "Mr Brand began to be concerned towards the end of October that if he and his wife divorced, he would be left with nothing.
"He was not thinking rationally, that is clear. In his head something snapped and something told him that he had to stop her. Something told him that he had to kill her."
Sentencing, Judge Norton told Brand: "What you did was to deliberately and to intentionally take a knife to her bedroom and, as she lay in bed, you stabbed her repeatedly.
"Your knife broke, possibly from when you delivered a blow that was so severe that you broke one of her ribs.
"The prosecution have called this brutal, sustained and determined – it was."
Judge Norton sentenced Brand to a term of life imprisonment with a minimum term of 16 years and eight months before he could be considered for release.
Mrs Mittal, who used the surname Brand-Mittal in social media posts, was an entrepreneur worked as a life coach and fitness guru under the brand name FlyandAchieve.
She helped people who had struggled with feelings of inadequacy and their weight – as she had done.
She had previously shared an emotional post on social media saying: "Never feel bad about getting older. It is a privilege denied to many. And I know I shouldn't moan and count myself lucky."
Speaking after the sentencing, Senior Investigating Officer, Detective Inspector Mike Roddy, of the Thames Valley Police Major Crime Unit, said: “This was a brutal assault carried out by Laurens Brand on his wife, Angela Mittal during which she suffered 59 separate injuries.
"Brand subjected Angela to this vicious attack in her own home, a place where she should have felt safe and secure.
“Instead of helping Angela, he tried to clean up before calling 999. When he did call, he didn't ask for an ambulance, he asked directly for the police already in the knowledge it was too late for Angela.
“This has been an extremely difficult time for Angela’s family and I would like to thank them for their help and support throughout this investigation
“I'd also like to commend them on the courage they have shown, especially today when having to explain what the loss of Angela means to them.
“It is never easy time lose anyone, but in such violent circumstances, in her own home, it is unimaginable.”
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