Twilight Killers' sister says she'll never find peace after family slaughter over a boyfriend
MANY children have arguments with their parents over their first boyfriend – but one troubled British teen was so upset with her mum after a row she decided to kill her.
Kim Edwards and her boyfriend Lucas Markham, both 14 at the time of the attack, formed an intense relationship and when Kim's mum Elizabeth, 49, tried to split them up they plotted her 'twilight' murder.
Together, they planned stab mum Elizabeth and Kim's little sister Katie, 13, to death before committing suicide to ensure no one could split them up.
When Markham entered Kim's house in Spalding, Lincolnshire, on April 14 2016, Kim decided she couldn't go through with it and asked Markham to do it alone.
After he had finished the brutal massacre, Kim bathed with him before they headed downstairs to eat, watch films – including Twilight – and have sex.
The only member of the family not be be killed was Kim's older half-sister Mary Cottingham, who lived in Derby with her husband and children.
Prior to the killings, Mary had doubts about her sister's new intense relationship and tried to talk to Kim about it but was always rebuffed.
Speaking in Sky’s new documentary, The Killer Within, which airs tonight, Mary said: “I thought: 'this pair are a ticking time bomb waiting to go off'. I knew straight away that there was something I did not like about him.
“I knew he was trouble, I just didn’t realise he would be this extent of trouble.”
The girls' mum Elizabeth frequently phoned Mary, then 26, saying she was worried about Kim who had become withdrawn from family and friends since she started seeing Markham.
It took the pair three attempts to finally go through with their sordid plan.
Their first attempt was foiled by Kim falling asleep on April 11, failing to let Markham into the house. Their second attempt failed for the same reasons the following night.
On April 14, Kim let Markham in through the bathroom window and later went to check on his progress as he butchered her mother.
Mary said: “She bottled it basically. She tried reaching her hand around the door and it was my mum that grabbed her hand. As soon as she realised it was my mum’s hand she knocked it off.
“They said in the trial that Kim could hear my mum gurgling so there was obviously a struggle.”
In police interviews shown in the Sky documentary, Markham admitted to stabbing Elizabeth multiple times before suffocating her with a pillow before doing the same to little Katie – who shared a bedroom with his girlfriend.
It wasn’t until April 15 that police gained entry and Mary was rung by her mother’s partner who had turned up to the family home and seen Kim being taken away in a police car.
Mary said: “It wasn’t until I went to identify the bodies that it really sunk in for me. I was like: ‘I’m going to get there and it’s not going to be mum and Katie. It’s not going to be them.’
"But I knew as soon as they opened the door for me to walk in, I knew straight away and I remember just breaking down and it was like: ‘OK, this is real. I haven’t got my mum or my sister anymore.’”
Police later told how Kim and her boyfriend had been blase about the corpses in the rooms above them.
Kim refused to plead guilty to murder and instead opted for the lesser charge of manslaughter which was not accepted by the Crown Prosecution Services leading to a trial.
In police interviews Kim claimed she was happy Markham had killed her family members because “my mum doesn't have to deal with me being suicidal and she doesn’t have to wake up worrying every morning and see if I’m still alive and my sister doesn’t have to go through all the heartbreak and emotions and stuff.”
Prior to the murder she had tried to kill herself and been rushed to hospital, causing her mum to book the family in for counselling.
Talking about family life after therapy, Mary said: “Everything was really good. We were really close. The family was in a really good place. Everyone was really settled. My mum was really settled, the girls were happy at school, everyone was getting along really fine.”
But the peace didn’t last long after the arrival of Markham, with Mary saying: “I knew my sister was unhinged, I just didn’t think she was that unhinged”.
When her younger sister went to trial, Mary sat in court to watch proceedings each day and was shocked by Kim's lack of remorse for the killings.
Mary said: “I was expecting at least something, especially when it come to Katie. With my mum I kind of knew that she wouldn’t show remorse because she kind of hated my mum. We all kind of knew that. But when it came to Katie I was expecting some and there was nothing. And even to this day there is no remorse.
“I kept looking at Kim and I literally wanted to jump over that fence and knock her face off basically.
“When she did look over at me, she had the cheek to smirk at me. She smirked at me as if to say ‘ha ha’ and I just looked at her and had to go out. I felt sick.”
Kim was found guilty by the court and sentenced to life in prison alongside Markham who plead guilty before trial.
Upon appeal the chilling pair had their sentences reduced to 17 and a half years of which they are in their fifth year. The pair are among the UK's youngest murderers.
Police evaluations didn’t find either of the murderers to suffer from a recognised mental illness but Kim did show signs of a personality disorder which cannot be diagnosed until she reaches 18.
Reflecting on the verdict Mary said: “I was walking around thinking: ‘great, my sister is a murderer’. That took a while to come to terms with the fact that my sister is one of the youngest murderers.”
She added: “It’s horrible. In my head there will always be unanswered questions. You just don’t expect your sister to do something like that, especially to her own mother and little sister.
“There’s always like Why Katie? Why did you need to kill Katie? I don’t think I’ll ever find peace.”
- The Killer Within is on Sky Crime at 9pm on Tuesdays
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