Late one night in January 2016, 20-year-old India Chipchase was enjoying spending time with friends at a nightclub in Northampton, England. However, shortly after midnight, with Chipchase having drunk a series of shots, things started to go terribly wrong for her. How the next few hours played out was as horrific as it was tragic.
Chipchase had initially been in high spirits on the evening of January 29, 2016. But as Friday turned into Saturday, her mood worsened. She began to get visibly upset about her on-off boyfriend, Grant Hare. The pair had apparently been going through a bad patch. According to her friend Alice Lewis, things culminated with a “30-second outburst.”
Not long after, Chipchase vanished. Her friends, who knew that she wasn’t too happy, assumed that she had called it a night or gone to meet some other friends. What had actually happened, though, was far more sinister.
Chipchase had intended to go home, and so after leaving the club, she had asked a bouncer to help find her a cab, which he did. The driver, noticing that she was the worse for wear, asked for the fare up front. She wasn’t at all happy about this, though, so rather than handing over the cash, she got out of the cab and tried to get back into the club.
However, the young woman was denied re-entry to the club on account of being too drunk. Becoming more distraught, Chipchase tried calling someone on her phone. It was then, at 1:15 a.m, that 52-year-old Edward Tenniswood approached her. He promised to get her home safely, but his intentions were anything but noble.
The pair got into another taxi despite the driver apparently having reservations about them both being drunk. And rather than making a beeline for India’s home, Tenniswood told the driver to head towards his terraced house on Northampton’s Stanley Road.
The mismatched pair weren’t, however, dropped right outside Tenniswood’s home. Why? Because the apparently helpful passerby insisted that they instead get out of the taxi a little further down the street.
A member of the public then saw Tenniswood leading Chipchase by her arm into his home – which was covered in plastic sheeting and discarded newspapers. As the hours dragged on, Chipchase’s family started getting worried. Her mum turned to Facebook to write, “Please let me know you’re OK please darling… love you.”
But Chipchase, tragically, was dead. Tenniswood, who was later described as an “oddball” and a “fantasist,” had raped and killed her. Her mother and father reported her missing, and it didn’t take long for the police, who analyzed CCTV footage from outside of the club, to figure out what had happened.
Consequently, officers raided Tenniswood’s property the day after Chipchase had been reported missing. On entering, they discovered India’s lifeless body lying on a mattress, with her hair arranged “like a halo.” The homeowner was nowhere to be seen.
After murdering Chipchase, Tenniswood had put on a pair of surgical gloves and cleaned up the mess he’d made. He dressed her body and covered it up before fleeing to a nearby hotel, where he checked in for the next couple of nights.
The young woman, it later transpired, had put up a fight, with investigators later finding traces of Tenniswood’s blood beneath her fingernails. However, the five-foot one-inch 20-year-old woman stood little chance against the stronger man and sustained 30 separate injuries during an ordeal which ended with her being throttled to death.
It took just three hours for the police, fresh from raiding Tenniswood’s home, to find him at the hotel he was hiding in. “You know who I am – Edward,” he reportedly told officers as they opened the door to his room. Chillingly, he added, “I’m surprised you were so quick… It didn’t take you long to find me. I suppose you’ve been to the house – you’ve found what you’re looking for.”
In August 2016, Tenniswood was found guilty of Chipchase’s rape and murder – the blood under her fingernails proving to be a crucial piece of evidence. It took jury members less than a couple of hours to reach their decision.
Tenniswood was sentenced to life imprisonment, with no chance of parole for at least 30 years. The jury rejected his claims that what happened that night had been consensual and that her death was a result of his “over-eagerness.”
Judge John Saunders QC said during Tenniswood’s sentencing that his had been “a terrible crime.” “It was a crime of utter depravity,” he continued. “I have no doubt that he was very persuasive, and convinced India in her befuddled state to come with him by promising her that she would be safe.”
“The defendant picked on her because she was obviously drunk and obviously so drunk that she was unable to care for herself,” the judge added. The trial, which took place at Birmingham Crown Court, lasted for two weeks.
The prosecution argued that Tenniswood used his strength against Chipchase before “squeezing the life” out of her. “It is very likely his motive was sexual,” Crown QC Christopher Donnellan said while opening the trial. “When she resisted him he was determined to have sex and he grabbed her around the throat and squeezed. He held her until she was unable to resist any more.”
The jury, meanwhile, agreed that this was the likely series of events. And this cold-blooded murderer, who so callously snuffed out the life of a vulnerable young woman, will remain behind bars until he’s well into his 80s.
Tenniswood’s sentencing was at least some small consolation for Jeremy Chipchase, India’s father. “I sincerely hope,” he said at the trial’s conclusion, “there’s no possibility that another woman ever falls into the hands of my daughter’s murderer.”