In a recent court case, it was revealed that a primary school teacher, Fiona Beal, had fatally stabbed her partner, Nicholas Billingham, whom she believed was cheating on her.
The murder was premeditated, and Beal had been plotting it for weeks before carrying it out in November 2021.
Beal’s “chilling” journal, found at her Lake District hideaway, detailed how she developed an alter ego named Tulip22, who was “reckless, fearless and efficient” and was fuelled by Billingham’s behaviour.
The journal also revealed that Beal persuaded Billingham to don an eye mask before she stabbed him.
After killing Billingham, Beal dragged his body to the back garden and buried it under layers of bark, soil, paving slabs, and wrappings.
She then repainted their Northampton bedroom before returning to work, where she told her headteacher that Billingham had left her.
Weeks later, Beal began messaging her headteacher, saying that she was ill. Concerned, the headteacher contacted Beal’s mother, who revealed that Beal had told her she was going away on a school residential trip.
When police traced her to a rented address near Kendal, Beal reassured an officer that she just wanted some “peace and quiet” and did not wish for her family to know her exact whereabouts.
Three days later, however, Beal sent her family a message saying, “I’m so sorry. I love you all very much.”
Officers gained entry to the lodge and found what appeared to be a suicide note before discovering Beal naked in the bath with superficial wounds to her wrists. She was detained under the Mental Health Act.
Police found a notebook at the holiday lodge containing a “chilling account of how she had planned and killed someone but it did not contain the name of the person she had killed.”
A cursory initial search of Beal’s property in Northampton revealed nothing suspicious, but a second, detailed search uncovered a bloody mattress and duvet in the basement, and freshly-laid bark in the garden.
Jurors were read extracts from Beal’s notebook, which referred to the cult 90s film Thelma and Louise, starring Geena Davis and Susan Sarandon.
In the notebook, Beal wrote about her mental health deteriorating and Billingham’s infidelity. She then described how she began plotting as Tulip22 after Billingham had gone to bed.
The notebook detailed how Beal encouraged Billingham to have a bath “with the incentive of sex afterwards” and hid the knife in her bedside drawer while he was bathing.
She then got him to wear an eye mask before stabbing him.
The court heard that Mr Billingham’s “partly mummified” body was identified through dental records.
A pathologist concluded that the cause of death was due to a single stab wound to the right side of the neck, cutting the jugular vein. The trial is ongoing.