Preston Crown Court heard Topping, 25, of St Georges Road, Preston, had been in a relationship with 27-year-old single mum Rosie for only a matter of weeks prior to the killing, having been to college together and reconnecting via Facebook.
Judge Brown said on February 7, 2019, Topping had been drinking gin and cherry shots at Rosies home in Whitmore Place, Ribbleton. He left the address in the early hours of the morning, with the judge commenting “There had clearly been an altercation between you”.
Topping was heard by a witness shouting at Rosie, threatening to punch “every car window in the street” if she didnt come to him.
Benjamin Topping jailed for life for the murder of Rosie Darbyshire in Ribbleton
CCTV footage from a local shop showed Rosie run away, fall over, stand up, but then be deliberately tripped by Topping on the junction of Pope Lane and Village Drive, Ribbleton.
He then struck her repeatedly to the head and face with a crowbar, he claimed he had removed from Rosies jacket.
Judge Brown said: “It was undoubtedly a sustained and savage assault”, adding: “A witness saw you swinging it (the crowbar) like a golf club”.
“She suffered the most extensive injuries to her head and face and was pronounced dead at the scene.”
Members of Rosies friends and family left the hearing as the judge told of how 50 different injuries had been found on Rosies head and face, that had left her unrecognisable.
Lastly, I welcome the sentence handed down by His Lordship Judge Brown and hope that it goes some way to achieving justice for Rosie and her family and friends.
A THUG who murdered his girlfriend with a crowbar leaving her unrecognisable has been jailed for life.
Police said Ben Topping, 25, was seen by a man and a woman attacking mum-of-one Miss Darbyshire with a crowbar in Pope Lane, Preston, at 2am on February 7.
He continued to hit her as she lay unconscious on the ground and then chased the couple from the scene, later throwing his weapon at a third witness.
Firstly, my thoughts, as well as those of my team, are with Rosies family at this dreadfully difficult time.
Lancashire Police said Miss Darbyshire had been beaten “beyond recognition” and a post-mortem examination showed she had injuries from at least 50 separate blows, as well as bruising and cuts to her arms and hands from trying to defend herself.
Topping, of St Georges Road in Preston, spat at the officer who detained him when he was arrested shortly afterwards.
In a statement, Miss Darbyshires family said: “We are relieved that a guilty plea has been given. No sentence will ever feel enough to show the value of Rosies life and the loss we feel.
“Now we are no longer stuck in limbo we will try to live our new reality and ensure that Rosies son lives a happy life and will always share memories of his beautiful mum.”
Topping was seen continuing to deliver blows to her head and body as she lay unconscious on the ground.
Sentencing him to a minimum of 20 years imprisonment, Recorder of Preston Judge Mark Brown said: “It is difficult to envisage a more horrific attack on a defenceless person.”
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