Ex-detective Ivan Esack sentenced to serve minimum of 28 years for murdering wife
by Keith Hunt
An ex-detective has been jailed for life today - and must serve
a minimum of 28 years - for murdering his estranged wife in her
Ashford hair salon.
Violent and controlling Ivan Esack, 38, savagely plunged a
kitchen knife into tragic Natalie up to 11 times because he was so
jealous of her new lover.
As he was sentenced family and friends of Natalie cheered and
clapped. He smirked and nodded.
Esack had admitted manslaughter, but denied murder
- claiming his responsibility was diminished because he
suffered from a narcissistic personality disorder.
But on Friday a jury at Maidstone Crown Court convicted Esack
(pictured left) of murdering 33-year-old Natalie.
Passing sentence today, Judge Charles Byers told Esack: “On
April 30 last year you cut down and killed a young woman who was in
"Not only did you take her precious life, in doing so you devastated lives of so many others around you" – Judge Charles Byers
"She was clearly much loved by many, well liked by many more
and who had a huge amount to offer this world.
“Not only did you take her precious life, in doing so you
devastated lives of so many others around you.
“You had previously made her life a misery, subjecting her to
extreme physical and verbal abuse. You sent her vile text
"You threatened her and others in telephone calls and tried to
strangle her on one occasion when you had previously threatened
“Yet, she never offered you any malice, not of any sort. Even
when you were in rehabilitation, those who heard about it must have
been moved, because when you started crying her first thought was
to comfort you.”
Ivan Esack (left) stabbed
his wife Natalie Esack to death at her Ashford salon
Judge Byers said Esack had stabbed Natalie with such frenzied
force that the blade penetrated her shoulder.
“And you did that in front of a 17-year-old girl who was her
friend and colleague,” he continued. “You then walked calmly back
to your car and waited for arrest.
“You have shown no remorse. Even when interviewed that day you
showed a degree of arrogance.
“I have taken into account your personality disorder, but it
only goes to underline that you are, in my view, a dangerous
He praised Chelsea Ford, Natalie's teenage colleague who
witnessed the horrific attack.
“I have been particularly impressed and moved by the way Chelsea
Ford conducted herself when she was confronted by the horrific
ordeal she underwent,” he said.
“She didn’t panic. Her only thought was for Natalie. In
remaining calm, when many would not have done so, she did
everything she possibly could to help her friend when she herself
felt in danger and terrified.
“She gave evidence in a clear unemotional way which I am sure
was helpful to the jury.
"She conducted herself that day in a mature and sensible fashion
in summoning help and she can be justifiably proud of herself, as
can her family be proud of her.
“I have read an extremely moving statement from her mother.
"I know she has been finding it difficult to adjust, to say the
least, and I know it will help a little if I say that in the
fullness of time with the help of her family she will be able to
put these sad events behind her and live the life she
Inside Natalie Esack's
hair salon after she was killed by her husband
The judge also commended the police for the way the
investigation was conducted.
“It could have become emotive and difficult,” he said. “Officers
who conducted interviews did so with restraint and in total
fairness. They did so without emotion.
“I believe this murder was investigated in the highest
traditions of policing. I commend the police and everyone who took
part in it.”
Oliver Saxby, defending, said there was only one conceivable
mitigating factor and that was the psychiatric evidence.
He said: “The jury has rejected the defence of diminished
responsibility but he has a personality disorder. It is for the
court to determine to what extent his culpability is lowered.”
Aggravating features included that the murder was committed in
front of Chelsea Ford and the “intensity and extent” of the
“He did not remain at the scene and there was no remorse,” said
Mr Saxby. “In our submission his personality disorder has some
bearing on those aggravating features.
“He has inherent in him a lack of empathy.”
A police cordon was
thrown around Natalie and Ivan Esack's house in Rosewood Drive,
Judge Byers replied: “The other way of looking at it is his
personality disorder makes him more dangerous, and that concerns me
“I think there is another aggravating feature, and that is it
happened in the salon, a place where the public would ordinarily
Earlier in the hearing the jury heard Esack, a former Kent
Police detective turned football agent, bought an eight-inch
kitchen knife at Sainsbury's moments before strolling to Esack Hair
and Beauty, in the High Street.
Esack was so jealous of Natalie's new relationship with Justin
Khadaroo, 34, he had plotted to kill himself in front of her.
But when he arrived at the salon he repeatedly thrust the blade
into his wife in front of horrified teenage hairdresser Chelsea
The furious 20-second attack was so violent it left the blade
bent and even snapped off the tip.
The blood-stained knife
Ivan Esack repeatedly plunged into his wife Natalie - leaving the
blade bent (below) and tip broken off
Miss Ford, 17, later told police the ex-detective then calmly
walked out of the salon declaring: "She deserved it, the
Esack had repeatedly threatened to kill Natalie - saying her
only options were "death or death".
He claimed he lost control in the salon on Monday, April 30 last
year when Natalie told him to get out.
Esack went home to Rosewood Drive, Repton Park, Ashford, and was
arrested there soon afterwards.
Moments later, calm Esack asked officers: "Is she dead?"
The prosecution said Esack was extremely co-operative and
smelled of alcohol, having drunk several cans of Special Brew and
half a bottle of whisky.
The ex-policeman later said: "I admit it all. I take it she is
dead. She had it coming to her. I don't regret a thing."
Ivan Esack selects a
knife from Sainsbury's before paying at a self-service checkout,
then calmly walking out and killing his wife Natalie Esack
The couple met at Living World gym, where Natalie was working as
a hairdresser and Esack went to get his hair cut.
They went out for about 10 years before getting married in 2006
and set up the hairdressing business two years later.
Soon their marriage deteriorated and Natalie started dating Mr
Khadaroo, whom she met in 2007, in October 2011 when she moved in
with her father.
prosecutor Philip Bennetts said the husband was aware of
her new relationship and she would not return to him.
"He threatened to kill her and to kill the man she was in a new
relationship with," said the prosecutor. "On April 30, he decided
he was going to kill her."
Natalie Esack's father
Jim Wilkinson (above) and (below, centre) her boyfriend Justin
Khadaroo leave court. Pictures: Martin Apps
Describing Natalie as petite and 5ft 1in while Esack as
The prosecutor said Esack had repeatedly assaulted and abused
Natalie during their relationship and threatened to kill her.
Mr Khadaroo, who told the court he had urged Natalie to get a
restraining order, said to Esack in a phone conversation he was the
most "disgusting, vile human being" he had ever met.
Miss Ford said she heard him tell Natalie in the salon she was
"a dead woman walking", adding: "Tick tock, tick tock."
A psychiatrist agreed Esack was suffering from a narcissistic
disorder, but the prosecution did not accept it was an abnormality
to function - because it did not affect the nature of his
rationality of his conduct and self-control.
Hard-working Natalie was described by friends as a caring,
selfless and popular individual who always put others before
During the trial, it was revealed Esack had been having a
relationship with a man called Louis.
He confessed to having an affair with a man while he and Natalie
were on holiday in Cancun, Mexico, in December 2011.
Speaking after the sentence, Natalie's father Jim Wilkinson said
the verdict was fair.
Forensics officers at
Esacks Hair and Beauty. Picture: Andy Clark
He added: "I'm really pleased with that, knowing he's got to
serve 28 years is really nice.
"The thought of him coming out feet first is even better
"I think it's nice he's locked away and he can't prey on anybody
else. People are safe from him."
Det Chief Insp Paul Fotheringham said he was "very satisfied"
with the sentence.
He said Esack would be 66 before he would be eligible for
parole, but he thought he would spend his life in prison.
He praised Chelsea Ford as a "remarkable woman", who was clearly
devastated by what had happened.
Natalie's new boyfriend (pictured above) Justin Khadaroo
said: "I think we couldn't have asked for a better sentence to
"From the very first day it happened - on the 30th April - we've
been waiting for this particular sentence and it couldn't have gone
"From that point of view I'm elated - the whole family are."
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