A mum facing her first Christmas in Spalding without her murdered daughter will never forgive the man who took her life.
Tina Benton (50) described her daughter Charlotte Piccaver as “awesome” and is grateful to the judge who put her killer behind bars.
She said: “I am just so glad the court case is over and that he’s been locked up. He’s got life. He can’t appeal against the sentence, they have told us that, and he’s got to serve a minimum of 27 years before he can apply for parole.
“He took my baby’s life.”
Charlotte (26) was dividing her time between her flat at The Square, off Church Street, Spalding, and an address in Boston – and it was in Boston where she and Darren Harwood (26) were fatally stabbed in the throat by Mehmet Ozen (41) in April.
Charlotte died at the scene and Darren in hospital.
Charlotte had a history of petty offending and Tina assumed she was in trouble the day police came to her door with news of her death.
Tina said: “I said ‘What the hell has she done now?’ because I knew she was no angel.
“They told me there was an altercation in Boston and because of her injuries Charlotte has passed away. I just sat there and banged on my coffee table saying: ‘No, no, no’. I said ‘Are you sure it’s Charlotte?’ and they said yes.”
Life has been a nightmare since Charlotte’s murder eight months ago – and her family find Spalding unbearable.
Tina said: “My son (Scott) has moved to Leicester, he’s 26 now. My 14-year-old daughter (Jade) has moved to Peterborough to be with her dad.
“Instead of losing one, I have lost three because they feel Spalding isn’t the same without Charlotte. It isn’t the same. I don’t even like coming up town.”
Charlotte was born in Leicester and came to this area with her family 22 years ago.
She attended Spalding Parish Day School and then The Priory School.
Tina said Charlotte was born with epilepsy and had dyslexia and slight learning difficulties.
After leaving school, Charlotte worked for a time for a plant company, but had to leave because of her epilepsy, and also volunteered at the Cancer Research shop.
Although Charlotte got into trouble – and had rows with her mum – Tina says her daughter had a loving nature.
Tina said: “Every time she left me she would give me a great big cuddle and give me a kiss, and say ‘I love you mum, see you later’.
“She was tough but the way she was at home she was completely different person. She was so loving, so caring.
“She was so loving and loyal to her family and friends, she would help anybody out. If she saw a stranger in trouble in the street she would go and help them.”
“She texted me the Friday before this (her murder) happened, ‘Mum, can I have a tenner, please’, which was just typical. I know Charlotte was no angel, but she and Darren didn’t deserve what happened to them.”
Tina praised Lincolnshire Police and the police family liaison officers who have looked after her since the double murder happened.
She said: “The family liaison officers have been amazing and so has Lincolnshire Police. It was a hard case to prove, but they have.”