Serial domestic abuser who murdered wife jailed thanks to Alexa recordings
A serial domestic abuser has been jailed for life for murdering his wife – after Alexa voice recordings helped bring him to justice.
Daniel White, 36, kicked open Angie White’s locked bedroom door and strangled her before cutting her throat with a Stanley knife.
He then fled the house in Swansea in his wife’s car and hours later phoned police to confess to murder.
Officers went to their home in Idris Terrace, Plasmarl, and discovered the front door unlocked and the body of Mrs White, 45, in her bedroom.
Swansea Crown Court heard that White, a labourer, had a long history of domestic violence, including against Mrs White.
At the time of the murder, he was on licence from prison after receiving a 10-year extended sentence for rape and assault.
Fearful of her husband, Mrs White had recently installed a mortis lock on her bedroom door, which White kicked in after an argument started on WhatsApp.
Neighbours heard banging, shouting and screaming at about 3am on October 22 last year before hearing a front door and a car drive away.
Shortly before 6am, White called police, telling a call handler: “She’s in the house, she’s dead. I’ve strangled her and cut her throat. She’s dead.
“We argued and she locked the door and said she wanted me out.
“All I wanted to do was take my stuff and leave. I just shut her up, I strangled her, I ran downstairs, and I cut her throat to make sure she was dead.”
The court heard the couple had an Amazon Alexa device, which can control household electrical items when activated by a voice prompt.
Detectives discovered voice commands made by White and his wife at the time of the murder had been stored in the Cloud.
William Hughes KC, prosecuting, said: “As a consequence, police have been able to discover that at 3.03am Angie in her bedroom said, ‘Alexa, volume three’.
“At 3.16am Daniel White’s voice can be heard saying, ‘Alexa stop’.
“He then goes back downstairs into the living room and says, ‘Turn on – Alexa’ but what can also be heard is that he is out of breath and these appear to be the moments when, the Crown say, he has gone to get the knife.
“He then returns to the bedroom at 3.18am when he says, ‘Alexa, turn on the electric light’, and at 3.19am he says, ‘Alexa, turn off the TV’.
“So, the Crown’s reasonable interpretation is after 3.03am and before 3.16am Daniel White had burst through the door and initially strangled Angie, then went downstairs to get the knife, and thereafter cut her throat.”
The court heard they had begun arguing on WhatsApp and the last message between the pair was exchanged at 3.11am.
A pathologist found Mrs White had died from knife wounds to her neck but there was also evidence she had been strangled.
White previously admitted murder but refused to attend court for sentencing.
Peter Rouch KC, defending, said: “What led to this occurring?
“Beyond what would appear from the messages of an argument – the marriage was effectively over and he was sleeping downstairs – the messages exchanged talk of belongings and not being allowed them.
“I would submit that as a result there seemed to be a spontaneous act of violence.
“I am not suggesting that is justification, but Your Honour has asked what led to it, and it would seem by putting the picture together as best one can from the messages and the timings, that seems what has taken place.”
Imposing a life sentence with a minimum term of 20 years and 10 months, Judge Paul Thomas KC branded White a coward.
“He does not have the courage to face the family and friends of the woman whose life he so brutally ended,” he said.
“You have a disgraceful history of assaulting women who have had the great misfortune to be in a relationship with you.
“You were, in short, a serious danger to women even before you murdered Angie White.
“For reasons which you have never adequately explained or sought to explain, you lost your ferocious temper yet again in the middle of the night.
“When you entered the bedroom you strangled her, probably rendering her unconscious.
“When she was face to face with you, with your hands around her throat, she must have been absolutely terrified.
“After she probably lost consciousness, you didn’t seek help for her, you went downstairs and got a knife.
“You took it into her bedroom in order to kill her, to finish her off. At one point you did so as an act of mercy – that, frankly, is ludicrous.
“You did so with a cowardly desire to dominate her and out of your uncontrollable rage. You did just that – savagely slit her throat knowing that would kill her.”
Speaking afterwards, Mrs White’s family said: “Angie was a much-loved daughter, sister, mother, grandmother, and auntie.
“Nothing can bring our beloved Angie back. We shall miss that silly giggle forevermore.
“Daniel White admitted his guilt but continued to use his manipulative behaviour to delay the outcome.
“He deliberately absences himself in what we see as his continuing attempts to control this situation and his cowardness in avoiding facing us and justice for what he did to Angie.
“We would welcome a review of what the relevant authorities did to monitor Daniel White to understand if this murder could have been prevented in order that others may be protected.”