AN EVIL killer who murdered a Bolton mum and her two young children in a jealous rage, believing that the mother was about to leave him, was sentenced to three life sentences today. Peter Christopher Hall pleaded guilty at Manchester Crown Court to the murders of Celeste Bates, 31, and her two children, Daniel, eight, and Milo, aged 17 months, at their home in Blackburn Road, Egerton, last September. The court was told that Hall, 34, of Moss Shaw Way, Radcliffe, first stabbed, bludgeoned and strangled Celeste before returning to his home.

Later that same day, after showering and changing at his home, he travelled by taxi back to Celeste's house where he picked up her car and collected baby Milo, who he then led to the child's bedroom and battered to death with a pick axe handle.

After committing the second murder, Hall then went to collect Daniel, who he again led to a bedroom and killed using the same pick axe handle.

A shocked courtroom was told that, later that day, Hall lay down for a couple of hours next to the body of Celeste before visiting a nearby pub - The King William.

Twice Hall left the pub, supposedly taking peanuts to Celeste, eventually leaving the King William at 11.20pm, telling other drinkers: "You will never forget me and I will be famous tomorrow."

In a savage attack, which prosecutor Anthony Gee QC told the court appeared to have been caused by Hall's intense jealousy, Hall stabbed Celeste 10 times using a 15cm long hunting knife with a serrated edge.

The young mum had also sustained serious head injuries due to three or four blows from an ornamental iron. Her body also showed signs of strangulation injuries.

Daniel died after sustaining at least six blows to his head from a pick axe handle and Milo also sustained six blows with the same weapon.

The court was told that, after Hall left his house where he had showered and changed following Celeste's murder, he left £470 on a kitchen table which he asked a friend to use to care for his two dogs. The court was also told that Hall told police officers in interviews that he had intended to take his own life following the murders by swallowing tablets, but later he refused to give blood tests when he had been arrested.

Hall was arrested on September 10 after crashing Celeste's car into a lamp post. Prosecutor Anthony Gee QC told the court that, on his arrest, Hall said to police officers: "I think you are looking for me. I have really done it this time. I should not have done it."

In court, Celeste was described as a lively, bubbly personality. She was employed at Abafields Nursing Home, Bolton.

The young mum also planned, along with her sister Maria, to buy the business from her employers at some point, the court heard.

The court was told that Celeste had taken the day off work through sickness. Mr Gee added: "She had everything to live for and was making plans for the future."

In mitigation, Peter Birkett QC told the court that Hall was "racked with remorse and that will remain with him for the rest of his life". Defending counsel also stressed that Hall was not suffering from any mental or psychiatric disorder and that he had accepted responsibility for "these terrible crimes". Sentencing Hall, Judge the Hon Mr Justice Forbes, said: "You brutally destroyed three innocent lives. None of your victims had done you the slightest harm.

"Two of them were children and the other their mother. Together they formed a decent, happy, loving family unit and it was that family that fell victim to what appears to have been your jealous rage.

"No useful purpose will be served by reporting the details of this appalling and shocking violence with which you brought about their deaths. No words of mine can hope to express the feelings of horror and revulsion which these dreadful and wicked crimes evoke."

Outside court, the man who had led the murder investigation, Det Supt Mick Gorrill, head of Bolton CID, said: "He is a very dangerous man. If things do not go his way, he resorts to terrible violence. Our hearts must go out to the family, particularly the sister of Celeste, Ian Bates and the grandparents. We believe it was jealousy. He believed the relationship was going to end. If he could not be with Celeste, then nobody else could." Shortly after Hall had received his three life sentences, Celeste Bates' former husband, Ian, told of his shock at learning of the brutal details of the three murders.

He added: "I have not got any words at the moment. I don't know what to say really. I feel a lot worse now, now I know the full circumstances."

And Mr Bates urged the legal powers-that-be to ensure that Hall remains in prison for as long as possible.

Mr Bates, who also admitted he may now leave the house where he is living and where the murders were committed, because he has heard the full horrific details, added: "Any hope he has of being released on parole should be crushed out of him, just as he crushed the life out of others."

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