A CHEATING wife who murdered her husband after luring him to a hotel by promising him a night of sex to revive their flagging marriage began a life sentence last night.
Accountant Carol Croydon, 41, herself a murderer’s daughter, planned to start a new life with her fifth and latest lover after inheriting more than [pounds sterling]500,000 from her businessman husband Philip.
Having stabbed him 22 times in the neck and chest with a cheese knife, she drove her Toyota MR2 sports car to the marital home and had sex on the sofa with the lover, Nelson Bland, a married Labour councillor.
At the end of a two-week trial, a jury of seven women and five men at Nottingham Crown Court found her guilty of murder after rejecting her claim that the killing was manslaughter due to provocation.
Mr Justice Treacy told her: ‘You are a coldhearted and ruthless killer who has shown no regret or remorse.’ He said she should serve at least 15 years and two months before being considered for release.
The judge added that she had devastated not only her husband’s family by falsely claiming he had raped her, but also the family of her foster father, whom she wrongly accused of sexually abusing her.
Police have invoked the Proceeds of Crime Act to freeze all her assets and stop her benefiting from her husband’s estate. This will be decided at a later hearing – thought to be the first time such a move has been made in a murder case.
The prosecution is also seeking to make her pay more than [pounds sterling]50,000 costs of the trial. Astonishingly, Bland has left his wife and still wants a future with Scots-born Croydon – despite her naming him as the killer in the hope of evading justice.
The murder happened less than three years after Philip Croydon had married Carol Wild, whom he met while they were both working for an upholstery firm in Leicestershire.
As they honeymooned on the island of Bali, the bride should have had every reason to feel she had finally made it.
Taken into care as a toddler, she had tried for years to bury her deprived origins.
In Mr Croydon, she found a partner who doted on her. He showered her with jewellery including diamond earrings and a Gucci watch, treated her to exotic holidays and bought the home of her dreams.
But this was not enough for his devious, self-obsessed wife, who decided he had to go.
In April last year, after performing a sex act on her 49-year-old husband to lower his resistance, she knifed him in room 328 of the Hilton Hotel at East Midlands Airport. She then returned to her [pounds sterling]390,000 home in the Nottinghamshire village of Edwinstowe for her tryst with Nelson Bland.
Then came lie after lie as she tried to cover up the murder.
First she tearfully reported Mr Croydon to the police as missing, then phoned his brother Steven begging him to search for her husband, saying she feared he had been in a road accident.
When a chambermaid found Mr Croydon’s naked body bound at the wrists with neckties the morning after the murder, and CCTV footage of his wife entering and leaving the hotel was uncovered, she had to change her story.
She then claimed her husband must have been killed by ‘swingers’ called Brian and Linda whom he had invited for a kinky group sex session. She said she herself had left the room after ‘Brian’ brandished a pair of handcuffs.
By implying bondage was on the cards, she sought to explain why her husband was tied up. But experts showed the ties on her husband were applied after his death, and she changed her story yet again.
She blamed Nelson Bland, 50, a school laboratory technician, claiming he burst in and killed her husband.
Only after Bland was arrested and the police investigation, involving at its height more than 50 officers, proved he could not have been at the hotel, did Croydon admit this too was a lie.
Finally she confessed to killing her husband, but claimed she was provoked because he had twice raped her.
She also traduced her dead fosterfather, claiming he tied up and abused her as a child. She suffered a ‘flashback’ to this, she claimed, because her husband suggested bondage.
For Mr Croydon’s family, who sat in the public gallery as her lies were aired during the two-week trial, the distress she caused is immeasurable.
His parents Edward, 75, and Margaret, 72, had already tragically lost two sons. Ronald, their first born, died at nine weeks from gastroenteritis and Paul was killed in a quarry at 12 when a rock face fell on him.
Last night, Mrs Croydon wept as she told the Daily Mail: ‘She knew we had lost two boys, but she killed Phil too.
How could anyone be that wicked?’ The victim’s brother Steven, 45, said: ‘Carol is an evil, lying bitch with no thought for anyone except herself.
She has tried to blacken the name of everyone who ever showed her any kindness.
‘She is a gold-digger who has only her own greed and lust to blame for what she did.
‘She is pure evil. I’m glad she was convicted of murder, but wish the sentence were longer. I believe she will still be a danger to society when she is released.’ His father added: ‘I curse this woman every day I wake.’
Official records show that the killer was born Carol Moore on February 25, 1962 in Glasgow.
When she was two she, her two older sisters and a brother went to live at the Quarriers Village children’s home in Bishopton, Renfrewshire.
In court she said this was because of her father James’s heavy drinking but in fact the reason was his psychopathic behaviour, which so terrified his wife Dorothy that she put the children in care and fled.
When Carol was eight, she said, her siblings left the home.
By then she had been befriended by teenager Eileen Smith, a devout Christian who regularly visited the children’s home.
Eileen treated her ‘like a sister’ and Carol began spending weekends at the home of Eileen’s parents, Angus Smith, a labourer, and his wife Sadie.
Mr and Mrs Smith grew to love Carol and became her foster parents when she was 11. Their kindness was repaid by her claiming that Mr Smith, who died aged 86 shortly after Philip Croydon’s murder, had abused her as a child.
‘Carol asked Dad to give her away when she married Phil,’ sobbed which produced two children, David, now 26, and Ian, 24, had also ended unhappily.
Steven Croydon told the Mail: ‘When Carol moved in with Phil she arrived with two suitcases, that’s all she had in the world.
‘She was supposedly an accountant at the firm where they worked. But she wasn’t as qualified as she claimed and the books became a mess so she was asked to leave.
‘Phil was very loyal to her and said, “If she goes, I go”, and started his own upholstery business.’ After living together Eileen, who angrily rebutted the abuse allegation in court. ‘Dad was a lovely man who showed her nothing but kindness.’ At 19, she had married Kenneth Wild and lived with him in America and Derby before they split in 1995. After her arrest, she claimed Mr Wild hit her. But asked in court if he had been violent towards Carol, businessman Mr Wild replied: ‘No – only in selfdefence.’ When she met Philip Croydon, his first marriage to Diana Meads, for three years, they married on June 17, 2000 at St Peter’s Church in the Derby suburb of Chellaston, followed by a silver-service reception at the Donington Manor Hotel.
‘It was a very plush do, organised by Carol, who hired two opera singers,’ remembers her husband’s sister Sandra Castledine, 40.
The bride lied about her age on the wedding register to appear four years younger.
‘She had airs and graces and didn’t like us because our home is a former council house,’ said her father-in-law, a retired tool setter. ‘It wasn’t good enough in her eyes.’ By 2002, the marriage was flagging and both were having secret affairs. Mr Croydon was seeing Julie Biddulph, who worked for him.
His wife had a fling with a colleague at a software company where she had got a job, then a three-month affair with a man she met in an Internet chatroom. These lovers – both married – were not named in court.
It is suspected she had at least two more lovers on top of that.
Croydon met Nelson Bland, from Reading, Berkshire, in December 2002 through an Internet chatroom she visited for help with ‘university studies’ for her job. By February last year they were meeting in hotels for sex every few weeks.
By the day of the murder, father-of-one Bland had told his wife of 26 years, Penelope, a teacher, that he was leaving her.
Bland was later arrested in connection with the murder and released without charge.
But he has, it can be revealed, been charged with possessing indecent images of children after police searched his computer. His case is due before magistrates next week.
Having resigned from Wokingham District Council and been suspended from his school job, he sat through his lover’s trial in the public gallery and visited her daily in the cells.
A prison source said he sent her steamy letters while she was on remand awaiting trial, signed ‘Yours in eternal love’.
The Croydon family are appalled that she made Bland her legal representative over her late husband’s will.
After yesterday’s verdict, he visited Croydon in the cells.
Later he said: ‘She is considering an appeal and I’m not walking away from her now.’
The family of Philip Croydon received no payment for this article but asked for a donation to a charity of their choice.
‘Our father was a psychopath’
CAROL Croydon’s childhood was haunted by fears that she would become a psychopath like her father, the Daily Mail discovered after tracking down her sister.
James Moore served ten years of a life sentence for killing his lover’s brother, said 47-year-old Dorothy McVey.
Gasping in shock when told her sister had been convicted of murder, Mrs McVey said: ‘Oh my God! I cannot believe it. Our father was done for murder.
He was a psychopath. That is why we were put into care when we were kids. He was in Peterhead prison and took part in a rooftop protest. He died in 1986.’
Mrs McVey, from Dundee, added: ‘When we were kids my sisters Janet and Carol and brother Billy all worried that one of us would become psychopathic. My brother was paranoid about it and I worried a lot too.
‘When I was older, I started to wonder why we had been put into a home and got in touch with the social work department.
‘They said our mother had run away because she feared for her life and we should not blame her for what happened.
She had only abandoned us because she was so terrified. She later married a psychiatrist and did quite well for herself.’ Mrs McVey said that she, Janet and Billy went their separate ways after leaving the children’s home when they reached 15 or 16, while Carol went into foster care.