January 16, 2021

Former professional cage fighter accused of murdering his former partner – Manchester Evening News


A former professional cage fighter has gone on trial accused of murdering his former partner, putting a knife to her daughter’s throat and then attempting to murder a passerby.

Andrew Wadsworth, 37, accepts killing 32-year-old Melissa Belshaw at her home in Wigan but denies murder.

Prosecutors allege that after the killing he put a knife to her 13-year-old daughter, and told her if she called the police he would ‘kill her’.

The child called out for help and a neighbour smashed through the front door at the Upholland Road property.

Wadsworth is then accused of attempting to murder another man on the street, who had been delivering a parcel.

Get the latest updates from across Greater Manchester direct to your inbox with the free MEN newsletter

You can sign up very simply by following the instructions here

Jurors were told that Wadsworth, who had been released from prison on licence, had a ‘volatile’ relationship with Ms Belshaw, and was said to be ‘magnetically attracted’ to her.

Wadsworth had accused Ms Belshaw of being a ‘prostitute’, which she denied, and of being involved in ‘sexual encounters with numbers of people’.

He also claimed that Ms Belshaw was involved in a ‘set up’ against him after an incident when Wadsworth was ‘robbed and injured’.

Jurors were told Wadsworth says he suffered a loss of control after learning of these claims.

Prosecutors allege that he may be using them to ‘excuse’ his actions.

Melissa Belshaw died after being stabbed at her house
(Image: supplied)

Ms Belshaw was found dead in a house on May 20 after suffering a ‘series of devastating stab wounds’, prosecutors said.

Her daughter called 999 but her phone was low on battery.

She called out for help and a man broke the door open, allowing her to leave the house.

Prosecutors allege that Wadsworth then went onto the street before running at another man, putting him to the floor and stabbing him repeatedly before police arrived.

Wadsworth, of Cranfield Road, Wigan, has gone on trial accused of murder, attempted murder and making threats to kill.

Manchester Crown Court heard that Wadsworth had previously been in a relationship with Ms Belshaw and they had lived together for a time.

Jurors were told the pair had a ‘common interest in drink, drugs and sex’.

Tim Storrie, QC, prosecuting, said that Ms Belshaw had at times regretted that the relationship had ended, and said Wadsworth had ‘strong and mixed feelings’ about her.

Mr Storrie said Wadsworth was ‘suspicious’ of Ms Belshaw.

“He believed she worked as an escort and for some time he believed she had been involved in sexual encounters with numbers of people, some of whom he knew including members of her own family,” Mr Storrie said.

“He didn’t believe her when she denied the suggestions he made to her.”

Jurors were told about a number of text messages that Wadsworth, a former professional cage fighter, had allegedly sent to Ms Belshaw prior to her death.

They read: “You are a prostitute, you know you are. You’ve f***** loads of people.

“You are a coke head and it makes you lie.

“I did everything for you and showed you another life.

“But you brought nothing to the table or put any effort in whatsoever.

“I can’t see you changing or being any other person than you have been,

“I have so much to offer to the right girl with a good heart and the right moral.”

Jurors were told that the day before the killing, Wadsworth had spent the night at Ms Belshaw’s home and they had a ‘row’.

Mr Storrie said Wadsworth was ‘pacing around the house’ and was in a ‘state of hyper vigilance’.

Prosecutors claimed he had armed himself with two knives.

Ms Belshaw died the following afternoon.

She was found in the corner of an upstairs room ‘under items of clothing’.

Mr Storrie said she had suffered a ‘series’ of stab wounds, as well as bruising consistent with being ‘manhandled with force’.

“She was not killed in the course of a single instance of violence,” the prosecutor said.

“The attack upon her was prolonged, remorseless and deliberate.”

Her daughter was then said to be ‘trapped in the house with the man who had just murdered her mother’.

We have a dedicated Facebook group covering court cases across Greater Manchester.

For all the latest trial coverage and sentencing join the group here.

To download our app to get all the latest news visit here.

Wadsworth allegedly threatened her with a knife before a passerby broke the door open to allow the child to leave.

Prosecutors allege that Wadsworth then left the house and ‘ran at’ another man on the street, before putting him to the floor and stabbing him ‘repeatedly’.

Mr Storrie said: “He (Wadsworth) was still armed.

“He was still dangerous and his intentions, members of the jury, were plainly still murderous.”

Mr Storrie said the man was ‘struggling for his life’ before the police arrived. He suffered stab wounds and a collapsed lung.

After being arrested, Wadsworth was interviewed by police.

He claimed he had been in possession of a knife for ‘drug use’, and said Ms Belshaw had brought it, not him.

Wadsworth also claimed that Ms Belshaw was a ‘prostitute’ and that he had been ‘set up’ by her during an incident when he had been robbed and injured.

“He said that these things were said to him within a minute of his stabbing her,” Mr Storrie said.

“In essence Andrew Wadsworth was blaming her for what had happened,” Mr Storrie said.

Prosecutors described his claims as ‘no more than recycled complaints from obsessional conversations he had with her well before’.

Opening the case to jurors, Mr Storrie said: “We say Melissa Belshaw is no less deserving of the protection of the law than anyone else.

“We say her death came about from circumstances brought about by Andrew Wadsworth.

“We say that it was murder.”

The trial, which is expected to last two weeks, continues.