Horsham woman fights off hitman hired to kill her after shocking attack

Pictured: Karl Cruise, Bruce Killick and Cruise’s getaway car

Three men have each been jailed for 30 years having been found guilty of conspiring to kill a woman in Horsham in February.

Bruce Killick, 63, Graham Martin, 39, and Karl Cruise, 55, have been found guilty after a five week trial at Hove Crown Court for planning to kill Bruce’s wife, Susan, on February 18, at their home in Brooks Green, near Horsham.

They were sentenced the same day, Killick and Martin for 30 years with a minimum of 20 and Cruise for 30 with a minimum of 15. Cruise was also sentenced for 11 years for GBH with intent to run concurrently.

Killick, who runs a horse and alpaca transport company, from Emms Lane, Brooks Green, Martin, an alpaca farmer, and Cruise, a casual labourer, both British nationals living in Plouray in the Brittany region of France, were arrested in the days and weeks after Susan was horrifically attacked.

However, as the investigation progressed, detectives found evidence to suggest Killick, who was having an affair with his groom, Angie Teear, had hired Cruise, through his work associate, Martin, to kill his wife.

On the afternoon of February 18, Susan had been home alone in Emms Lane when she had answered the door to Cruise, who claimed his car had broken down. He asked to use her phone to contact a garage but followed her into her kitchen where he then began his attack. He first hit her with a hammer and then punched her, knocking her to the ground and smashed her head repeatedly on the floor. He then attacked her with a plant pot, screwdriver and tried to use a stun gun on her. The then 61-year-old victim still managed to fight him off and stopped him from hitting her over the head with a heavy step stall. Cruise then dragged her across the kitchen before trying to stab her, first with a blunt bread knife and then with a paring knife. It was only when Cruise became very short of breath, having suffered a medical episode that she was able to get away from him, alerting her next door neighbours.

Her quick thinking neighbour was able to take down part of Cruise’s French number plate and he was arrested in Portsmouth that evening. Cruise pleaded guilty to GBH with intent.

Killick had made arrangements to ensure he was not at the address when the attacked occurred and to provide him with a legitimate alibi. The jury heard how he had sent texts to Martin asking how much to get rid of someone but always maintained the £10,000 transferred to Martin just days before the attack was for an alpaca for his and Susan’s 30th wedding anniversary.

The jury took just two days to find all three men guilty.

On sentenecing them Judge Micahel Lawson said: “This was a horrific offence born out of greed and lust. The victim thought this was a marriage of joy and this has been violated and destroyed for financial gain.”

Detective Inspector David Springett said: “This was a planned and incredibly brutal attack against Mrs Killick, orchestrated by her husband and carried out by his criminal associates. I am sure that if it was not for her sustained self defence then Mrs Killick would not have survived this assault. Thankfully she has largely recovered physically but I have no doubt her emotional trauma will be long felt.

“This offence has been motivated by greed and Mr Killick’s desire to start a new life with his mistress. The fact he has been married to Mrs Killick for over 30 years and sought to explain the payment of funds for the murder as an anniversary present for her are chilling.

“I am delighted the jury has found all three guilty of the part they played in trying to plan this murder. I hope Mrs Killick is able to continue to recover and carry on with her life and put this ordeal behind her knowing her attackers have been brought to justice.”

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