Manhunt: The Search for Natalie Hemming at 9pm tonight on Channel 4 is a look behind the scenes of the tragic missing person’s case as it turns into a murder investigation.
The pioneering documentary follows Thames Valley Police’s investigation from the moment Natalie Hemming disappeared to the conviction of her killer last year.
Who was Natalie Hemming?
Natalie Hemming, 31, was a murdered mother-of-three who used to live with her violent ex-partner Paul Hemming in Milton Keynes.
On May 3, 2016, a 999 call from Ms Hemming’s mother reported the woman missing – just two days after she was beaten to death.
Thames Valley Police carried out an extensive search for the missing woman and eventually found her body in Hertfordshire woodland at Chandlers Cross on May 22.
Who killed Natalie Hemming?
Paul Hemming was found guilty of murdering Ms Hemming in November 2016 at Luton Crown Court, where he was sentenced to life with a minimum term of 20 years.
The court heard how Hemming beat his partner to death in the lounge of their Milton Keynes home while their children slept upstairs.
Prosecutor Simon Russell-Flint, QC, said Hemming killed her in a “fit of rage and jealousy” after finding out that she was planning to leave him.
In sentencing, Judge Richard Foster said: "Natalie Hemming knew, you were overbearing, controlling, jealous and on occasions violent.
Catching a Killer tells the story of Natalie Hemming's brutal murder
Natalie Hemming was planning to leave Paul Hemming with her new partner
“You said you would mend your ways but you did not. The manner in which you have conducted yourself since the murder indicates a complete lack of remorse.”
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Mr Hemming initially defended himself by saying he accidentally hit Ms Hemming on the head when he threw an ornament at her. He admitted manslaughter but denied murder.
Natalie Hemming knew, you were overbearing, controlling, jealous and on occasions violent
Judge Richard Foster
What happened to Natalie Hemming?
Natalie and Paul Hemming met in 2007 and their relationship ended early last year. Nevertheless the pair continued to live together under the same roof with their three children – a daughter, 12, from Ms Hemming’s previous relationship, and a son, 6, and daughter, 3.
On the night of May 1, 2016, Ms Hemming went out on a date with a new lover who was a colleague from a Mercedes dealership she worked at.
The Channel 4 documentary will air tonight at 9pm
Paul Hemming was sentenced for life with a minimum of 20 years
When she returned home, her former partner had a “raging fit of jealousy” and beat her to death. The noise of the attack woke up the couple’s six-year-old son who came downstairs.
The young boy reportedly saw his mother’s body wrapped in a blanket through a gap in the door but did not realise that she was dead.
When the boy went back to sleep, Mr Hemming put his dead partner’s body in the boot of his car and drove it some 30 miles away from his home to Tom's Wood, South Hertfordshire.
The next morning Mr Hemming told his children that their mother had left while they were asleep and even took them out on a trip to Whipsnade Zoo.
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Mrs Hemming’s body lay in the thick undergrowth of the forest for weeks as police searched to find the missing woman.
During Hemming’s trial, Patholgist Dr Olaf Biedrzycki told the court that the body was so decomposed that it was impossible to determine the cause of death.
To cover up his tracks, Hemming sent a series of text messages to his former partner to feign worry in the face of her supposed disappearance.
The search for the murder victim was one of the biggest police searches carried out in the history of Thames Valley Police.