Murderer Kevin Ashton tried to use whatever charm he thought he had to con a jury into believing he was innocent.

The 45-year-old attempted to convince those 12 strangers he was a caring boyfriend who loved and protected Helen Joy.

But his mask repeatedly slipped to reveal himself as the slimy bully who killed a mum-of-three then simply turned his attention to scoring weed.

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Ashton stood in the dock on Tuesday morning in a desperate bid to undermine the compelling evidence against him.

That included the 121 injuries Ms Joy was found with when police attended the couple's Wirral home on February 1 of this year.

In his words these wounds were effectively self-inflicted, the result of the falls he claimed his partner frequently had and nothing to do with his fists.

Ashton's pathetic courtroom performance began with the details of his own trauma, the jury hearing of a tea light fire that once ripped through his home and left him in Whiston Hospital for "about two months".

Helen Joy, 54
Helen Joy, 54

It was while he was recovering at his mum's home in Widnes, where he grew up, that he came into contact with Ms Joy over Facebook just over a decade ago.

The 45-year-old said they met within weeks and eventually became neighbours in a flat block near New Brighton.

He told his barrister, Julia Smart, QC, that Ms Joy would drink alcohol throughout the day and that he began to do so too.

While he accepted their relationship was "up and down", he denied their arguments became physical.

Kevin Ashton, 45 and of Twickenham Drive in Leasowe, was found guilty of the murder of Helen Joy. Image: Merseyside Police
Kevin Ashton, 45 and of Twickenham Drive in Leasowe, was found guilty of the murder of Helen Joy. Image: Merseyside Police

Ashton played down the three convictions he had for common assault against the woman he told jurors that he was still in love with - despite irrefutable evidence proving this was a barefaced lie.

One mutual friend told Liverpool Crown Court that Ms Joy confided in her that Ashton had beaten her over an eight year period - even claiming she saw him "jab" an empty cider bottle in Ms Joy's face.

Ashton's response: "She makes stuff up."

No, according to Ashton his partner was "black and blue" because of her constant falling and he was the protective partner who tried to intervene, urging her to seek medical advice.

He claimed: "I have got pictures of her on my phone... I took the pictures to show me mum and dad. It was like 'I'm trying to tell her to do this' and ask people to help her, to make her go the hozzy. That kind of thing."

Merseyside Police cordon on Twickenham Drive, Leasowe, Wirral.
Merseyside Police cordon on Twickenham Drive, Leasowe, Wirral.

Ashton said he last saw his partner alive when: "I kissed her on the head to say goodnight because that's the thing we always did."

When he woke the following morning, January 31, he said he found Ms Joy in the living room in the same position he had left her.

He claimed that, once he realised she was not asleep, he held her and found: "She had blood on the back of her head. I just hugged her and cried."

Asked to describe his reaction, he told the court: "There isn't a word I can think of that feels that bad... I crouched down with her for ages, hours, minutes, I couldn't really tell you to tell the truth."

Ashton's final words to Miss Smart were to tell her that he loved Ms Joy - and that he still does.

But the loving, protective, caring persona he tried to cultivate quickly unravelled in the face of questioning by David McLachlan, QC, who prosecuted Ashton.

Police cordon off flats on Twickenham Drive
Police cordon off flats on Twickenham Drive

Ashton's nerves were clearly pricked as he claimed that, of his three common assault convictions, one incident stemmed from Ms Joy attacking him and dismissed another incident as a witness misinterpreting the help he was giving to Ms Joy as he tried to get her out of a taxi.

Mr McLachlan took Ashton through the injuries Ms Joy was discovered with.

They included fractured bones in her neck, broken ribs, tearing of her ears, bruising to her abdomen and shearing of her scalp and upper gum away from her skull and jaw respectively.

Ashton denied being responsible for them.

His ludicrous explanation was simply: "She's fell in the night and come back in the living room, carried on drinking. But I'm not an expert, I don't know."

Ashton's antics in the dock continued when shown a diagram of the injuries his partner was discovered with.

Asked who 'did this' he quipped whether Mr McLachlan was referring to who drew the diagram or who caused the injuries.

Eyeing the courtroom behind glasses and under a mop of shaggy hair flattened by the headphones needed to aid his hearing, he descended into details about his sex life with Ms Joy.

Forensics search a property on Twickenham Drive
Forensics search a property on Twickenham Drive

Ashton repeatedly started responses by suggesting he did not want to answer out of respect for Ms Joy's watching family, only to then reveal graphic details about the state of their lives and her health as he sought to shift blame onto the victim.

His case perhaps reached its lowest ebb as he tried to explain his actions after discovering the woman he described as his "world" was dead.

The court heard he did not ring 999 because he did not own a phone.

Mr McLachlan questioned: "Why didn't you bang on every single door close to you?"

Ashton said: "I don't know. I should of. I should of."

He did not try to seek help for Ms Joy at all, in fact.

Instead he left her dead in their Leasowe living room and disappeared to the home of his cannabis dealer.

Ashton then returned and, in his words: "I put Helen in the bed. I thought I'm not leaving her on the floor like a piece of s***. I shouldn't have touched her but I wasn't leaving her on the floor like nothing... Truthfully, I wanted to take all her tablets and drink and go with her. My life was over. That was the way I saw it."

And still he did not seek help - though he did take time to wipe blood from the wall of their living room, blood he said stemmed from Ms Joy banging her head repeatedly as she hallucinated the day before.

The next day, rather than calling 999, he went to the Widnes home of his dad, and then on to his mum's address.

It was only then that he was arrested.

More than 24 hours after Ms Joy's death he was detained by police - not because he had made the authorities aware of the death of the woman he said he loved, but because, after hearing of Ms Joy's death, Ashton's dad "knew what the right thing was to do".

Mr McLachlan concluded his examination by stating "Mr Ashton. I suggest that you battered this woman to death and let her die in the cold."

Ashton responded: "Not at all."

It took the 12 jurors just two hours and 23 minutes to disagree.

Ashton, of Twickenham Drive, will be sentenced for murder on November 12.

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