A true crime-obsessed mother, who had framed pictures of serial killers including Ted Bundy and Jeffrey Dahmer on her walls, smiled as she was convicted of murdering her boyfriend in a crazed knife attack.
‘Manipulative and jealous’ Shaye Groves, 27, faces life in jail for stabbing father-of-two Frankie Fitzgerald 22 times while he slept after seeing he had messaged a teenager.
The five-week trial heard that the pair shared a mutual interest in BDSM and a camera was set up in the killer’s bedroom at her home in Havant, Hampshire, to record them having sex.
On her walls Groves had framed pictures of serial killers crying blood including Yorkshire Ripper Peter Sutcliffe, Moors Murderer Myra Hindley and incestuous serial killer Rose West.
She also collected books about gangsters, including the notorious prisoner Charles Bronson, and was a fan of true-crime documentaries.
Jurors were told the 27-year-old, who rang a friend ‘giggling’ after killing Mr Fitzgerald – showing his body saying ‘I’ve done him’ – had previously threatened to make his life ‘a misery’ by leaking videos of alleged sexual abuse which were later proven to be bogus.
Groves then tried to cover her tracks with a ‘false alibi’ by calling her friend.
At Winchester Crown Court today, a jury found Groves guilty of murder after deliberating for nearly 18 hours.
Wearing a denim jacket with a large pentagram emblazoned on the back, and with tattoos visible on her face, Groves smiled as she was taken down to the cells after the unanimous verdict.
Groves was ‘obsessed’ with her 25-year-old lover’s ‘performance in the bedroom’ and the couple’s sex life involved bondage, dominance, submission and masochism, a court heard
Shaye Groves’s bedroom wall (pictured above) showing serial killer pictures. The true crime fan had framed pictures of serial killers Myra Hindley, Rose West and Jeffrey Dahmer
Shaye claimed during her trial that she stabbed Frankie Fitzgerald (pictured) in self-defence
Addressing the jury, the Honourable Mr Justice Tim Kerr said: ‘It just remains for me to thank you for the dedication and work you have done on the case.
‘We miss him more than anything in the world’: Victim’s parents pay tribute to ‘shining light’ as police blast ‘horrific’ killing Following the verdict, Frankie Fitzgerald’s parents described the father of two as a ‘shining light’ and said they missed him ‘more than anything in this world’.
In a statement, they said: ‘As a parent you never expect to outlive your children, you will do anything in your power to protect them.
‘Frankie was our baby, the youngest of five children, he can never be replaced. He was a kind and beautiful person and sadly leaves two children behind that will never get to know their daddy.
‘We thank the jury for their verdict today.
‘To our Frankie, we love and miss you more than anything in this world. Your shining light will always be our hearts.’
Detective Chief Inspector Nicola Burton, Hampshire police’s Senior Investigating Officer in the case, described his murder as ‘horrific and distressing’.
She said: ‘Our thoughts, first and foremost, are with the family of Frankie Fitzgerald.
‘I would like to praise their courage and hope today’s verdict brings them some small relief, despite knowing that nothing can fill the void left in their family by the loss of Frankie.
‘I hope that the sentence Groves receives in due course provides them with reassurance that justice has been secured for Frankie.
‘We will do everything we can to investigate and bring to justice those responsible for such horrific crimes – the details disclosed in court were distressing for all to hear.
‘I’m pleased the jury has reached this verdict following tireless work from our local policing teams, detectives, specialist teams and the Crown Prosecution service.
‘I would encourage any victim of domestic abuse to find the courage to come forward and tell us about it.’
‘This has been a long and difficult case in which you have heard, at times, distressing evidence.
‘I propose to exclude you from jury service for a period of eight years from today. I personally as a judge and institution am deeply grateful to you. My heartfelt and profound thanks.’
Groves will be sentenced next week.
During the trial, jurors heard ‘pagan’ Groves bought a Celtic dagger, later used to stab Mr Fitzgerald, 25, for her ‘rituals’ and that it ‘strengthened spiritual connections’.
As well as posters of killers such as Rose West and Ted Bundy, Groves had a coffin-shaped bookcase and four ‘decorative’ knives – with depictions of film villains Chucky, Jigsaw and Pennywise on – which she and Mr Fitzgerald used for ‘knife play’ in the bedroom.
She was such a horror movie fan that she gave housemate Lauren White the nickname Chucky, a vicious serial killer doll from the Child’s Play slasher film franchise.
A friend of Groves said the two had ‘joked’ about Mr Fitzgerald ending up ‘on the wall’ as there was ‘space for him’.
Opening the case, prosecutor Steven Perian KC, said of Groves and her lover: ‘Their sex life involved bondage, dominance submission and masochism – BDSM.
‘It is likely she was obsessed with Frankie Fitzgerald because of his performance in the bedroom.
‘The prosecution case is the defendant is a manipulative, possessive and jealous woman.
‘The killing is very likely to have been a crime of passion driven by her jealousy.’
Afterwards Groves video-called her friend, Vikki Baitup, ‘giggling’ and ‘admitted’ the killing.
Telling jurors about the call, Mr Perian KC continued: ‘The defendant went to the bedroom three times and showed the body of Frankie Fitzgerald covered in a duvet.
‘She said they were lying in bed together and Frankie Fitzgerald was asleep.
‘The defendant was going through his messages and saw he had been talking to a 13-year-old girl and while Mr Fitzgerald was asleep, she put a dagger in his throat waking him up.
‘He moved and they started fighting.’
He continued: ‘While the defendant was on the video chat, she could be seen cleaning the bookcase with blood on it. She showed a book and showed blood spots.
‘Ms Baitup recalls at some point during the video chat hearing Ms White say “I’m going to crack”.
‘The defendant told Ms White, “You can’t crack, you’re an accomplice, you put the bin bags under his body”.’
The court heard Groves had sent a message to Ms Baitup to create a ‘false alibi’ in order to ‘cover her a***’ where she claimed Mr Fitzgerald had ‘walked out’ on her and that it was ‘over’ between the two of them.
On the phone call with Ms Baitup, Groves explained her logic, saying Mr Fitzgerald had been ‘suicidal anyway’ and that ‘it was alright, they’ll just assume he has gone off and committed suicide’.
A BB gun Shaye Groves kept in a cabinet drawer (pictured above)
The dagger found in Shaye Groves’ sink. She stabbed her lover 22 times in total
‘When asked what she was going to do with the body, the defendant replied ‘it’s alright, we are going to bury it in the back garden”,’ Mr Perian said.
A pathologist’s report revealed Mr Fitzgerald was stabbed 17 times to the front of the chest, twice to other chest areas and three to times to the neck – resulting in his death after ‘multiple perforations of heart and lungs’ and ‘catastrophic blood loss’.
Footage from officers at the scene was played to the court. They reported an ‘incredibly strong’ smell of bleach in the bedroom.
Groves could be heard saying: ‘He tried to attack me, it’s not the first time, I’ve got video footage of him raping me and beating me.’
The couple had a camera set up in the bedroom which captured them having sex – the recordings of which Groves was said to use to blackmail lovers and claimed Mr Fitzgerald had been abusing her.
However, Mr Perian highlighted a recording that showed the activity was ‘consensual’ because they had spoken about their ‘safe word’ which was ‘red light’.
The court heard ‘cunning and astute’ Groves had spoken with friends about getting Mr Fitzgerald ‘down a dark alley’ and how she would ‘get away’ with murder. Groves had also been violent towards Ms White, only calming down when she ‘saw a bit of blood’.
Shaye Groves, 27, has been found guilty at Winchester Crown Court of the murder of on-off boyfriend Frankie Fitzgerald
Groves was such a horror movie fan she gave housemate Lauren White the nickname of Chucky – a vicious serial killer doll from the Child’s Play slasher film franchise
Mr Perian said: ‘The defendant had many gangster books, like Charles Bronson and has serial killer pictures in frames on her wall and watches murder documentaries.
‘The Crown say by reading about and watching these she was familiar with: a crime scene, how to create a false narrative and how to create a false alibi.’
Addressing Groves’s claims of self-defence, Mr Perian said: ‘If the killing was in self-defence, why go about setting such an elaborate false alibi for yourself? Why didn’t she call the police immediately? Why did she clean up the crime scene? Why did she move the body?
‘It was a cunning ploy – nothing was affecting her mind at that time.’
Giving evidence, Groves said she had the serial killer posters because she thought they looked ‘pretty cool’ and had attacked Mr Fitzgerald because she thought he was going to ‘strangle me to death’ after she saw he had been messaging a teenager and he attacked her.
Who was Jeffrey Dahmer? Jeffrey Lionel Dahmer also known as the Milwaukee Cannibal or the Milwaukee Monster, was an American serial killer and sex offender.
Between 1978 and 1991, he raped, murdered and cannibalized 17 young men in Wisconsin and Ohio.
In 1978 when Jeffrey murdered his first victim, hitchhiker Steven Hicks, where he strangled him with a barbell.
By the time he was finally caught, Jeffrey had killed 17 men and boys, including; Joseph Bradehoft, 25, Jamie Doxtator, 14, Richard Guerrero, 25, Anthony Hughes, 31, Oliver Lacy, 23, and many others.
Dahmer was eventually charged with 15 counts of first-degree murder during his 1992 trial in Milwaukee.
He was sent to Columbia Correctional Institution.
Following his conviction, he was murdered in prison two years later at the age of 34.
Monster: Between 1978 and 1991, Jeffrey Dahmer raped, murdered and cannibalized 17 young men in Wisconsin and Ohio. He was convicted in 1992 and murdered in prison two years later at the age of 34
She said: ‘I couldn’t breathe – I couldn’t even scream. I realised he wasn’t going to let go and I feared for my life.
‘I reached out to grab an object on the bookcase and I hit him in the throat. I have a money box there and I thought that if I hit him with that it would get him off.
‘He rolled off (…) and he stood up and slid down the wall really slowly.
‘There was bubbling coming out of his neck when he stopped moving.
‘His chest wasn’t moving. It was just the noise. When that happened I realised that I had killed him.
‘I tried to stop the bubbling. I put my hand there but that didn’t do anything so I stabbed him in the heart.’
Groves will be sentenced at Winchester Crown Court next week.