The family of a murdered model warned her to take care around her mentally unstable ex-boyfriend, who killed her while suffering from a paranoid delusion.
Charles Byrne, 25, killed Filipina model Christina Rowe, 28, in her home in Worcester and dumped her body in a river in February last year because he believed she was a ‘reskinned male paedophile’, a court heard.
After killing Ms Rowe, the 25-year-old defendant attempted to murder her daughter by strangling her and smashing her head against the floor multiple times.
While the young child was unconscious, Byrne put the suitcase containing 28-year-old Ms Rowe’s body, weighed down with bricks, in his mother’s car before driving to dump it in the River Severn near the Diglis Bridge.
Speaking to The Mirror, Miss Rowe’s 31-year-old friend George Devereux said he and her family had warned her to keep away from Rowe.
Christina Rowe, pictured, was murdered at her home in Worcester between February 9 and 10 2021
Charles Byrne, 25, (pictured) killed Filipina model Christina Rowe, 28, between February 9 and 10 2021
Mr Devereux said: ‘It was a difficult one because we didn’t know the extent of everything.
‘We didn’t know about him stalking or kidnapping them.
‘I don’t think they were together when I gave her a friendly warning to be careful around him, but they were still talking,’ he said.
‘I was concerned for her. He behaving erratically and was quite aggressive and controlling.
‘She came to stay with me with her daughter for a bit and I later found out that he would turn up at her home in the middle of the night.’
Byrne was given a life sentence with a minimum term of 16 years by a judge at Worcester Crown Court last month after admitting the manslaughter of Christina Rowe by diminished responsibility and the attempted murder of her child.
In a victim impact statement read to the court by prosecutor Michael Burrows QC, Miss Rowe’s sister Stephanie said: ‘In time I will heal, but not any time soon. Life will no longer be the same. We will all have to live with the fact that Charles Byrne is alive and my sister is not. We feel as though we have been “Byrned” alive.’
Byrne was given a life sentence with a minimum term of 16 years by a judge at Worcester Crown Court (pictured) last month after admitting the manslaughter of Christina Rowe by diminished responsibility and the attempted murder of her child
Allegedly, Miss Rowe and her young child, who cannot be named for legal reasons, were ‘kidnapped’ a couple of days before she was killed, although Byrne was not convicted of that offence.
After reportedly holding them for a couple of hours against their will, Byrne is said to have released them.
‘It still keeps me up at night, thinking about it. It’s going to haunt me for a while’, Mr Devereux said told The Mirror.
He continued: ‘I saw in an article that a psychiatrist said he (Byrne) was a “kind man” and the whole reason he did it was because of mental illness.
‘I don’t believe he wanted to take her life. There’s a difference between doing something consciously and in your right mind and not.
‘One way I’ve rationalised it in my head is comparing it to if someone drink drives and kills someone, they are at fault but it’s different to if they planned something before.
‘That being said, mental illness or not there are certain actions that have to be punished.
‘He has left a daughter without a mum. 16 years is a fair sentence. I think it’s good he’s in a mental hospital now and that he will be transferred to prison.’
In a victim impact statement read to the court by prosecutor Michael Burrows QC, Misss Rowe’s sister Stephanie said: ‘In time I will heal, but not any time soon.
‘Life will no longer be the same. We will all have to live with the fact that Charles Byrne is alive and my sister is not. We feel as though we have been “Byrned” alive.’