A Hayes man faces life in jail after stabbing his girlfriend and mother-of-one to death whilst she was asleep and defenceless in her own home.
Billy White, 23, of Pinkwell Lane, Hayes, pleaded guilty murdering 25-year-old Lucy Ayris on Wednesday (May 11), after changing pleas and putting her family to 'hell and back'.
He will serve a recommended minimum 15 years in prison.
White had admitted the 'unprovoked' killing in court a year ago , but the plea was reversed when psychiatrist reports were submitted.
He was due to stand trial this week at the Old Bailey but changed his plea, yet again, to guilty.
'A violent and unprovoked attack'
Detective Inspector Simon Pickford, from the Homicide and Major Crime Command, said: "This was a violent and unprovoked attack. It appears White fatally stabbed Lucy while she was asleep and defenceless.
"I must pay tribute to Lucy's family who have conducted themselves throughout these proceedings with incredible courage and dignity."
The couple had been in a volatile relationship for around 18 months, which saw White hitting and hurting Lucy, before pleading for forgiveness repeatedly and entering her life again, her family say.
All seemed well between them between the couple, on Friday (March 6) 2015, after the pair socialised at home with friends and family.
But the alarm was raised at around 5.10am the following morning, when police were called to reports of a woman suffering stab injuries at her flat in Pinkwell Lane.
Police, the London Ambulance Service and London's Air Ambulance attended the scene and found Lucy covered with a blood-stained quilt in the bedroom.
The mum-of-one had been stabbed in the neck and was found with a knife by her feet.
She was taken to Hillingdon Hospital where she was pronounced dead.
White claimed he had 'no memory' of the attack
White, with his hands covered in blood, was arrested at the scene, telling officers "I'm sorry". He had called his mother immediately after the murder, distressed and telling her he had killed Lucy.
Later, in police interview, he claimed he had no memory of the attack, but was charged with murder on March 8, 2015 .
According to Metropolitan Police , White had a history of mental health, suffering from a personality disorder and psychosis.
The sad case, along with another domestic violence murder in the borough of nurse Emily Munemo , prompted a 'dynamic operation' by police to detect those involved in such abuse , and a campaign by Hillingdon Council to raise awareness .
'Every time he hit Lucy, he would say sorry and that it 'wouldn't happen again''
Lucy Ayris' distraught family released a heartfelt statement following the statement, asking for White to be 'locked up forever' after taking the life of a 'special, a mummy, daughter, sister, granddaughter, niece and cousin'.
It read: "When we first met Billy White we thought he was okay, however, we then found out he was hitting and hurting Lucy.
“This continued, and my family wanted to speak to Billy White and make sure he stopped but Lucy did not want us to do this.
"In 2014, he was sent to prison which we hoped would end the relationship - but the next thing we knew, Billy White was back with all the excuses you could think of.
“We told Lucy she should get rid of him but she said he was sorry and it would not happen again."
The family explained how any time the abuse happened, White would say he was sorry and even cry to make Lucy feel he did care and give the impression he was sorry, and would get himself back into her life again.
'How do you tell a little girl that her mummy’s boyfriend murdered her?'
The family continued: "How wrong we were - I wish I could turn back time and change all this, stop the hurt and pain me and my family now have to live with, you can see the hurt and pain in their eyes every day. They blame themselves for not doing more.
“There are times when we are all together and there is silence, we’ll say nothing and we look for Lucy, but she is not there, only in our hearts, we miss her so much.
"As for Lucy’s daughter, this is the hardest. She understands her mummy has gone but how do you tell a little girl that her mummy’s boyfriend murdered her?”
White originally pleaded guilty but was then allowed to change his plea to not guilty and a trial was supposed to take place. The family were told January 2016, first of all, and then it was changed to the May 9, 2016.
They said: "For the last 12 months myself and my family have been to hell and back. We have attended every hearing at The Old Bailey and believe it's just been about Billy White - not about him murdering our daughter Lucy.
"Last week (just over a week before the trial) we were told he was now going to plead guilty. I believe he has pleaded guilty because he could not prove that he had a mental condition and so, by pleading guilty, he will get a shorter sentence.
"Billy White pleading guilty to Lucy’s murder does not change anything. All it does is stop us going through a big trial. Nothing will bring my daughter back.
The family pleaded that White should be 'locked up forever' so he can never destroy another family.
They added: "We also have a life sentence as Billy White murdering Lucy is something we will have to live with every day of our lives.
“How we do this I simply do not know, knowing Billy White has taken something so special, a mummy, daughter, sister, granddaughter, niece and cousin.
"Missing you Lucy Lou!"