Thomas Griffiths, now 18, (pictured) has been locked up for life for murdering his 17-year-old ex-girlfriend Ellie Gould
This is the chilling moment a sixth form pupil caught a bus to go and stab his 17-year-old ex-girlfriend Ellie Gould to death – as he was today locked up for life for her murder.
Thomas Griffiths, now 18, left the knife in Ellie’s hand to make it look like she had killed herself, and then abandoned her in a pool of blood on the kitchen floor while he went back to school.
The teenager sought support from a matron at Hardenhuish School in Chippenham and sent messages to Ellie’s friends to say he could not get hold of her. She was found dead by her father when he returned home four hours after the attack.
The pair had been going out for several months when Ellie decided to call off the relationship on May 2. A day later Griffiths was driven to school by his mother, but secretly returned home by bus.
Then, the learner driver illegally drove his Ford Fiesta to Ellie’s home and carried out the savage assault.
Sentencing, Mr Justice Garnham said: ‘You put your hands around Ellie’s neck and tried to throttle her. She tried desperately to fight back, scratching at your neck in the process. You did not have the sense, or the decency, to stop. Instead, you picked up a kitchen knife.
‘You then carried out the most appalling attack on this defenceless girl, repeatedly stabbing her to the face and neck. The pain and terror she must have suffered in her last moments, as your frenzied knife attack continued, is beyond imagining.’
Griffiths stood in front of a court packed with Ellie’s family and friends as he was told to serve a minimum term of 12 years and six months.
Thomas Griffiths was seen on CCTV catching a bus home to murder his former girlfriend Ellie Gould at her home in Calne, Wiltshire, on May 3
Griffiths (seen waiting at the bus stop) stabbed Ellie to death after she decided to break up with him
Ellie was an aspiring showjumper and A level student, who was popular among pupils at Hardenhuish School in Chippenham
Ellie and Griffiths, who swam at county and international level, had been in a relationship since January 2019.
In a message to friends at 6pm on May 2, Ellie announced that she had ended the relationship and he had not taken it well.
On the morning of May 3, Griffiths was driven to school by his mother Rachel Griffiths but he returned home by bus a short time later.
The learner driver hid in a wardrobe at his family home and waited for his mother to leave before illegally using his Ford Fiesta to go to Ellie’s home, arriving at 10.58am.
Richard Smith QC, prosecuting, said: ‘Griffiths became angry, perhaps by Ellie’s continued rejection of him and he attacked her.’
The court heard Griffiths put his hands around Ellie’s neck before stabbing her at least 13 times, mainly to the left side of her neck.
At 11.45am, a text was sent from Ellie’s phone telling friends that she was not going to be at school that day.
Griffiths left the Gould family home at 11.51 and drove himself home, where he told a neighbour he had self-harmed to explain the deep scratches to his neck.
‘In truth, the injuries to the defendant’s neck and to his hand were nothing to do with self-infliction but very much more likely the product of his young victim having fought for her life as she was attacked,’ Mr Smith said.
Timeline: What happened on the day of the murder?
1. Griffiths was driven to school by his mother
2. He secretly returned home by bus
3. Illegally drove a Ford Fiesta to Ellie’s house, where he arrived at 10.58am
4. Stabbed her to death and messaged a friend saying she wasn’t going into school that day
5. Left at 11.51am and returned to school
5. Ellie’s father found her dead at around 3pm.
The neighbour drove Griffiths back to school, where he spoke to the matron and sent messages to Ellie’s phone.
He was collected from school by his mother, who he asked to wash the clothing he had been wearing earlier that day and drive him to a friend’s house.
At 3pm, Ellie’s father Matthew Gould returned home.
In a victim personal statement, Mr Gould said: ‘The image of Ellie lying there on the floor has haunted me ever since that afternoon.
‘It fills my thoughts when trying to sleep and hijacks my mind when trying to go about my day.’
Griffiths was arrested outside his friend’s home in Chippenham at 6.10pm and repeatedly lied to police.
Messages Griffiths sent to a group after he killed Ellie, which were released today by Wiltshire Police
Another set of messages Griffiths sent to a friend saying he was feeling ‘anxious and nervous about everything’ following the breakup
Griffiths illegally driving a Ford Fiesta to Ellie’s house, where he savagely stabbed her to death
Police today released photographs of the crime scene, including this bag of blood-stained clothes dumped by Griffiths
A pair of shoes that were worn by Griffiths during the murder on May 3, which he was locked up for today
Griffiths initially claimed he had not seen Ellie that day but admitted his actions three weeks later when faced with overwhelming evidence by police.
Detective Chief Inspector Jim Taylor said the defendant’s account began to ‘fall to pieces’ after police pieced together CCTV footage of his car driving towards Ellie’s home and the location services on his iPhone.
The WiFi router at his home also documented when he arrived and left.
Griffiths was charged with murder following that evidence, along with forensic tests showing Ellie’s blood was on his shoes.
Griffiths pleaded guilty to murder at a pre-trial preparation hearing at Bristol Crown Court on August 29.
He was aged 17 at the time but Judge Peter Blair QC lifted reporting restrictions, meaning that he could be publicly identified.
Sasha Wass QC, representing Griffiths, read a letter the teenager had sent to the court to apologise for his actions.
‘I have truly let myself down and I hope one day I will be able to explain to myself and others why this happened,’ he wrote.
Ellie is pictured riding a horse on her beach. Her family said she had a ‘huge love of animals’
A map shows the killer lived just 2.6 miles away from his victim, who he stabbed to death at her home
‘I’m feeling so stressed’: Griffiths’ self-pitying social media messages after murdering Ellie
Thomas Griffiths posted a selfie to a Snapchat group after murdering Ellie Gould – telling her friends he was feeling ‘so stressed’.
The teenager, then aged 17, referred to scratches on his neck and claimed he had been self-harming due to illnesses in his family and the break-up with Ellie.
He posted: ‘I think everyone’s noticed that I’ve been really down lately and I need to tell you why. Me and Ellie are going to go on a break and see how things go after exams.
‘As well as this, my Dad has cancer and my Nan has been in hospital having heart problems. I’ve been so stressed lately and I don’t know how to cope with it.
‘I’ve been scratching myself around my neck area and as this group has kind of become my best friends I don’t know who else to talk to.’
The boy said he was going to see a teacher at his school, Hardenhuish School, to ‘explain everything that has been happening’.
In a message to one of Ellie’s friends, Griffiths wrote: ‘I know me and Ellie are going on a break but I’ve been so anxious and nervous lately and I don’t know who else to talk to.
‘I’ve also not told anyone this but I’ve been kind of hurting myself by scratching my neck quite hard.’
Speaking outside court, Det Chief Insp Jim Taylor said there were no ‘warning signs or red flags’ about Griffith’s behaviour before the murder.
‘While I know that this prison sentence will not bring Ellie back, and 12 and a half years no doubt seems insignificant given the severity of this crime and the colossal loss for this family, I hope that in some way it provides them with some form of closure,’ he said.
Speaking after the case Ellie Gould’s mother called her killer a danger to women who should never be released.
The Gould family say they had tried to make her boyfriend feel welcome.
She told the BBC: ‘My husband wasn’t overly keen on him (Griffiths) because he didn’t say much.
‘I just assumed it was because he was a 17-year-old boy. It was nothing that would ring alarm bells. We welcomed him into our home. We ate dinner with him.’
Griffiths lived just over two and a half miles away from his victim, in a quiet rural street (pictured)
Griffiths even asked to be allowed to do work experience at the family business just days before the murder.
Mrs Gould said Ellie was not looking for a serious relationship but Griffiths was. Shortly before her death, his behaviour changed.
‘It was only in the last week that she (Ellie) began to spot some signs,’ Mrs Gould said.
‘She said that he’d been acting very strange.
‘I said to her ‘what are you going to do?’ and she said ‘don’t worry Mum, I’ll sort it’.
‘Little did we know he was going to turn up the next day and do what he did..’
Mrs Gould added: ‘He’s a danger to society, particularly to women. He became obsessed with Ellie within a matter of weeks.
‘He could become obsessed with another woman and who knows what could happen?’
Thomas Griffiths has pleaded guilty to the murder, which took place in Calne, Wiltshire on May 3 (scene pictured)
Meanwhile, Ellie’s grandmother branded him a ‘monster’ who should face the death penalty.
Ellie’s grandmother Pat Gould said Griffiths was ‘evil’ and she believed Ellie’s murder was premeditated.
She told the BBC: ‘I believe it should be capital punishment – a life for a life. Otherwise he’s being detained at our expense.’
Ellie’s father Matthew and mother, Carole, 48, owned a kitchen fitting business. She is also survived by her 19-year-old brother Ben.
Ellie Gould’s family’s statement in full after Griffiths was found guilty
A statement from the Gould family reads: ‘We would like Ellie to be remembered as a kind, caring young lady with a wonderful fun personality.
‘From a young age, Ellie had a huge love for animals Every Spring we would visit Lackham during the lambing season, and during the summer holidays we made many visits to animal farms to hold chicks, rabbits and feed baby animals.
‘On her first day at primary school she put holes in her brand new shoes as she spent every playtime playing with her friends crawling around on her hands and knees being a cat.
‘Ellie also loved our summer trips to Devon to stay at our aunt and uncle’s house – she loved their puppy Elsa and whilst the other young cousins were scared of the lively puppy jumping up, Ellie wasn’t and had a wonderful way with animals, calming the puppy and making it do whatever she wanted.
‘Every year from a young age, a pony always featured on her Christmas or Birthday wish lists.
‘As her parents, we tried to get away with buying a hobby horse to run around the garden on. The pleas continued so we adopted an Exmoor Pony, however due to the distance, we could only visit twice a year.
‘Finally we decided as we lived in beautiful rural Wiltshire, we’d buy her a pony – Missy.
‘Missy was white with a long flowing mane and tail, she looked like a unicorn when she was white, although more often than not, she looked brown as she loved rolling in mud.
‘Ellie spent hours brushing her and plaiting her mane and tail. She loved showing her off at local shows in ‘prettiest pony classes’ and was so proud one year to come first at Foxham show in the ‘best family pony class’.
‘Ellie’s natural riding ability improved immensely and in no time she was ready to move onto her next pony – Blackjack.
‘Again, winters and summers she competed in local shows and cross country events. It was nail biting to watch as she would gallop past and fly over enormous cross country jumps.
‘She also spent the summer months often just herself and her beloved Blackjack hacking over Wiltshire’s beautiful countryside.
‘Ellie loved the Sixth Form at school where she was studying for A levels.
‘She had built up a close group of friends who would often meet up at weekends and do activities such as the Escape Rooms. She would often ask if the group could meet at our house – ‘It’s just a gathering mum, not a party,’ she’d say.
‘We talked about visits to university open days and apprenticeships within the police force – she wondered if she could get into the mounted police with her riding skills.
‘Whilst she was excited about the next step in her life she also said, ‘But I don’t want the sixth form to end as I love it so much’.
‘Ellie had a lovely relationship with her older brother growing up, they rarely argued as she was fun loving and a joy to be around.
‘We would like Ellie to be remembered as a kind, caring young lady with a wonderful fun personality.
‘Ellie’s favourite charity was Riding for the Disabled who run activities for disabled children and adults and we ask that any donations in Ellie’s memory are made to this charity so that they can continue with their fantastic work.
‘This is what Ellie would have wanted.
‘Finally, we’d like to thank the community in Calne and Hardenhuish School for their support and comforting words, as well as the police who have provided us with support over the past few weeks.’