A man has been jailed for four years and eight months after he prevented the body of a woman from being found in a Lincolnshire town. Paul Neilson, 30, of no fixed address, admitted to assaulting Colette Law on three occasions and perverting the course of justice.
Colette, 26, died on a summer’s night in July last year. Her body lay undiscovered in a tent in the grounds of St Mary and St Nicolas Church in Spalding for a week until she was found on July 17.
Neilson persistently told people that she had gone back to Scotland, but he later admitted knowing that she had died in that tent and deliberately failed to alert any authorities. The delay in locating Colette’s body inevitably delayed the HM Coroner from instructing a post mortem examination and the start of the police investigation.
The exact cause of death was not able to be established. Investigators initially charged Neilson with murder but those charges were dropped by the Crown Prosecution Service.
Detective Inspector Adrian Czajkowski led the investigation. He said: “As we quickly and thoroughly progressed our investigation, we started to uncover a pattern of assault. He was a domestic abuse perpetrator, very simply. We found that he had assaulted her in the days before her death, as well as perverted the cause of justice, and new charges were filed.
“This discovery was largely down to the tremendous response by members of the community who came forward with their accounts of witnessing altercations, as well as other intelligence – for that, we want to say a very big thank you. Without their input, we would never have been able to find any level of justice of Colette and her family.
“And now I must pay tribute to them. They have handled what is the worst thing a family can handle, with dignity and strength.
“Nothing we or the court system can ever do can bring Colette back, but we can see that the person who brought misery towards the end of her life, and who prevented us and her family from truly understanding what happened to lead to her death, responsible for his actions. I hope that they can now grieve in peace.”
Neilson was sentenced to one charge of assault by beating, two charges of actual bodily harm, and one charge or perverting the course of justice.