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Jonathon Cudworth jailed for stabbing wife Mariola 'Mika' to death at Northbourne home

An obsessive husband who stabbed his wife to death in a "brutal and callous" killing has been jailed for 15 years.

Jonathon Cudworth was today sensationally acquitted of murdering the wife he believed was cheating on him this afternoon.

The jury decided that Jonathon Cudworth was guilty of her manslaughter instead when he "snapped" after she threatened to leave him.

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Audio: The moment Jonathon Cudworth reported his wife missing to police

This afternoon, Judge Adele Williams jailed him for 15 years.

She told Cudworth: "This was a brutal and callous killing.

"You then took considerable steps to destroy all the evidence of the killing before laying a false trail to cover up.

VIDEO: Jonathon Cudworth has been acquitted of murder

"On all the evidence, you subjected her to physical and emotional abuse and have shown no real remorse or regret."

Speaking after the sentencing, her family told of their grief at the brutal killing.

Mariola's sister, Agata Rychlicka, said: "When Mariola died so did part of my father who loved her so dearly.

Mariola Cudworth, known as Mika
Mariola Cudworth, known as Mika

"My father does not smile anymore, he doesn’t joke anymore and he is always sad and depressed and I can’t help him.

"The death of my sister causes us a great pain - even more so after knowing she died in such a brutal and violent way.

"We believe she is no longer suffering."

Her other sister, Anita Bazela, said: "We can’t even imagine how we are going to continue our lives without her.

"There is nothing that would make us feel any better other than our dear sister being returned to us, unfortunately this is quite impossible."

The 35-year-old former soldier and forklift driver stabbed Mika FOUR times after claiming she admitted having sex with a lover and was planning to leave.

Cudworth caught on CCTV buying cleaning products
Cudworth caught on CCTV buying cleaning products
Cudworth driving Mika's body away from the home
Cudworth driving Mika's body away from the home
CCTV also captured Cudworth disposing of items at the tip
CCTV also captured Cudworth disposing of items at the tip
Jonathon Cudworth looks over the sea wall
Jonathon Cudworth looks over the sea wall

Cudworth, of Mill Lane Cottages, Northbourne, told the jury he had lost control, grabbed a knife and lashed out – but denied murdering her in a jealous rage.

The jury at Canterbury Crown Court had been told that legally, Cudworth’s claim that his 36-year-old wife had admitted having sex with a drinker at a pub where she was a barmaid was NOT a defence to murder.

But Judge Adele Williams said if they believed that Mika had threatened to leave and believed that was the trigger for Cudworth to snap, they could acquit him of murder and convict of manslaughter.

"This was a brutal and callous killing" - Judge Adele Williams

And after three days of deliberation, the jury returned its verdict today - guilty of manslaughter.

They had heard how in the hours before her death, Mika had been holding hands and sharing a kiss with a new man in her life.

Friends revealed how she accused her husband of being a paranoid and controlling and had ridiculed him publicly about their sex life.

Neighbours had seen him rowing with his wife, spying on her movements and arguing in the days leading up to her brutal killing in April last year.

Mika had confided to friends how she had dreaded having sex with him, joking she only did it "once a month and only when I'm drunk".

It was then she began talking to Dan Groombridge, a regular at the pub in Great Mongeham where she worked.

Police in the area where Mariola (Mika) Cudworth's body was found
Police in the area where Mariola (Mika) Cudworth's body was found

Mr Groombridge denied the couple were having an affair but admitted holding hands and kissing during a few stolen moments at the home of friends before making the fatal decision to return to her home.

There, Cudworth had become furious when his texts to the barmaid had not been answered and she was late returning home.

He awaited her return, grabbing her by the throat after she had changed her clothes before plunging a knife into her four times.

In the witness box he admitted telling lies by reporting her missing to police and then calling her mobile phone, despite knowing it was in the sea.

His barrister Oliver Saxby QC asked: “Were you thinking straight?”

Police outside the home of Mariola Cudworth in Mill Lane, Eastry
Police outside the home of Mariola Cudworth in Mill Lane, Eastry

Cudworth replied: “No, I wasn’t thinking straight.”

And in his final address, Mr Saxby told the jury: "Look at the circumstances that he was in, backed up against a table.”

He said Mrs Cudworth had been “in his face” telling how she had sex with Dan Groombridge, a regular at the pub, and was planning to leave.

He added: “Then his hands feel the knife and at that point he loses control. Might someone, in those circumstances, who has realised both the deception he has been subjected to and the fact his life was about to be utterly shattered, snap, as Cudworth did?”

Then as Polish-born Mika's blood soaked body lay near their front door, the killer set about getting rid of the body.

Mika Cudworth
Mika Cudworth

He tried to drag her out of the front door – but realised he would be caught on a neighbour’s CCTV.

So, instead, he took the body into the rear garden and left it behind a compost heap while he set about trying to cover his tracks.

He reported her missing, told lies to friends and family, dumped her belongings in the sea and then her body in a field near Eastry where it was later found by a medium.

Cudworth then began washing carpets and clothes which contained her blood.

And in the days which followed, as police and friends searched for the missing Mika, Cudworth posted fake Facebook messages from her to try to make her friends believe she was still alive.

Mika and Jonathon Cudworth on their wedding day
Mika and Jonathon Cudworth on their wedding day

But his poor Polish grammar made her friends deeply suspicious of his claims she had just walked out after a row.

Prosecutor Philip Bennetts QC told the jury: “In an effort to hide what he had done he cleaned the house and disposed of all he could."

And secretly, while officers scoured the area, Cudworth was researching on the internet how fast bodies decayed.

A friend of Mika later confronted him about his bogus account and he admitted the two had been rowing the previous night.

Jonathon Cudworth
Jonathon Cudworth

“Cudworth later posted messages in Polish purporting to be Mika. They had the appearance of being poorly translated and did not make grammatical sense.

"Her friends suspected that they had not been written by her," he added.

Speaking after the sentencing, Senior Investigating Officer Detective Inspector Richard Vickery said: “This was a senseless act on an innocent woman.”

“Mika and Cudworth’s families have been through an incredibly emotional ordeal because of Cudworth’s actions, not least because he refused to reveal where he had disposed of her body.

“My thoughts at this time are with Mika’s family.’

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