Many questions remain over Clifford Collinge murder
Rebecca Sherdley and Chris Breese look at the background to the Clifford Collinge murder investigation...
AS Charlotte Collinge begins her sentence for the murder of her husband, many questions about the killing remain unanswered.
Temporary Superintendent Kate Meynell hopes one day his family will know exactly why he died.
Mrs Collinge commissioned the killing of her besotted husband of 14 years through two strangers – Kelvin Dale and Stephen Shreeves – who she met that night in a pub.
She had been in the Crate and Grapes, Warsop, lifting up her skirt and showing off her knickers. One man took a photograph of her bottom. She was also making sexual comments, exposing herself and tried to elicit sympathy by saying she could not get a divorce unless she moved out of the £1m home she shared with her husband.
Shreeves said he was aware of her reputation and that she had the nickname "Charlotte the harlot". He said there were rumours that she took men back to her house and had sex with them while her husband watched.
During the evening, Shreeves and Dale, who both denied Mr Collinge's murder, snorted cocaine in the toilets of the bar and drank a number of pints.
He said Collinge invited them back to her house for sex and told them no one was at home.
"She behaved very sexually towards everyone," he said.
"Someone said if you buy her half a lager she'll do anything, so I bought her two, to laughter from the group we were with."
Within hours, they were back at her home. The men later launched a ferocious attack on Mr Collinge and his friend Stephen "Stan" Boardman, as they drank together downstairs in the marital home in Warsop last October.
The pals were beaten with a huge metal joiner's sash clamp and a guitar.
Mr Boardman, of Warsop, told the Post yesterday: "I remember two people coming in, Cliff went into the kitchen, and the next thing – boom – I was just clonked on the back of the head, I'd been hit from behind.
"Then I just woke up with my dog Milo licking my face and it was pitch black.
"I didn't know what to think – I just grabbed my bag and left. I didn't see anybody.
"I didn't even know anything had happened to Cliff until Sunday morning when CID came and picked me up and took me to a police station.
"I think about it all the time."
Mrs Collinge, who was not there when the attack took place, returned to the house after the attack.
The 45-year-old did not call for an ambulance for her husband, who suffered 46 different injuries.
Mrs Collinge's motive may have been financial. She had told her friend Jessica Dawkins she wanted her husband dead and was only using him for money.
Yesterday, all three defendants were sentenced to life for the murder. Mrs Collinge has to serve 23 years before parole, and Dale and Shreeves each have to serve 18 years. Dale and Shreeves were also convicted of assaulting Mr Boardman.
Mr Justice Colman Treacy said: "The killing of Clifford Collinge in his own home was a truly shocking offence.
"On the evidence I have heard, I'm satisfied he was a man who offered no harm to any of you and who indeed had, over a number of years, tolerated the wilful and manipulative behaviour of an unfaithful wife.
"You, Shreeves, and you, Dale, were responsible for this attack. You, Charlotte Collinge, were not present at the violence but you instigated it."
He said the two men carried out the brutal attack fuelled by alcohol and illegal drugs, probably not even knowing her husband's name, after going back to the house on the promise of sex.
Temporary Superintendent Meynell described Mrs Collinge as extremely cold and calculated.
"I think the sentences reflect the severity of the attack on Clifford Collinge. It was a horrible attack. It was planned by his wife and she recruited two men earlier in the evening to carry out the attack.
"She obviously took Clifford Collinge for all she could get. He was besotted with her and she took advantage of that and carried on doing that until she killed him.
"It's our belief and it's the prosecution case she did this to try and get money. She wanted a divorce. She wanted access to his house and he wouldn't sell the house and she felt this was the only way to get to what she wanted."
"For whatever reason (Shreeves and Dale) they agreed to carry out her plan for her. As to what she promised them or what they were going to get from her, I have no idea.
"There are a lot of questions unanswered."
Mr Collinge's eldest daughter, Julie Bowles, 34, said: "We are truly devastated that we will never again see our dear old dad smile, and that he will miss out on watching his beloved grandchildren grow up. To have a child ask why their grandad had to die and not know the answer myself is beyond words.
"We are in complete shock and disbelief that this has happened to our dad."
"The knowledge that our father was forced to suffer in the way he did, as arranged by someone whom, against all the advice from his friends, he supported for so long, is an unspeakable burden of knowledge to now have to carry through our lives."
A fourth accused, 36-year-old Robert Proud, of Greendale Close, Warsop, was cleared of murder and assault.