A former nightclub bouncer has been
jailed for a minimum of 35 years for murdering a pregnant teenager two weeks
before she was due to give birth.
Carl Whant, 27, of Bettws, Newport, raped and stabbed 19-year-old Nikitta
Grender at her home, killing her unborn daughter at the same time.
He set fire to her flat before returning to a party where he had been all
night with her boyfriend.
Michael Brunnock, Nikitta Grender's uncle: "We will never deal
with the tragic events that have stolen our family from us"
Whant was convicted of murder, rape, child destruction and arson.
Ms Grender had already named her baby girl Kelsey-May.
Outside Newport Crown Court after the verdict, the victim's uncle, Michael
Brunnock, said in a statement: "The last 12 months have been harder for us than
you could ever imagine.
"And as a family we remain in total disbelief as to what has happened.
"Nikitta was so young and beautiful and together with
Ryan, they were to become a very proud set of parents to Kelsey-May.
"This has been ripped from them by Carl Whant, who has never had the decency
to tell us the truth.
"For us to see our grandchild for the first time in a mortuary was the most
heartbreaking thing we have ever had to do.
"Nikitta was so special and will remain in our hearts until we die. We will
never deal with the tragic events that have stolen our family from us but hope
we can at least start to understand what has happened."'Calculating and devious'
Ch Supt Geoff Ronayne said the 35-year sentence was the longest he could
remember in his 30 years with Gwent Police.
Whant had "never admitted his guilt, given any indication about why he
committed this terrible crime or provided Nikitta's family with any
Nikitta Grender was two weeks
away from giving birth to a baby girl she had named Kelsey-May
Mr Ronayne said the event had been a "harrowing ordeal" for the family and Mr
Mayes, and he commended them for their "bravery and dignity".
"I'm hopeful that this conviction brings to an end one part of that process,
although without doubt they will continue to mourn and grieve Nikitta and
Kelsey-May for the rest of their lives."
Sobs and some whispers of "yes" were heard in the court as the jury announced
it had found him guilty after a trial lasting more than a month.
As he sentenced Whant to life in prison with a minimum of 35 years, Judge Mr
Justice Griffith Williams warned the public to remain calm.
He said Whant had left the party because "you fancied Nikitta and wanted to
have sex with her".
Detective Supt Geoff Ronayne: "Family will continue to mourn
for the rest of their lives"
He said that because he knew that she would not agree, and "you went armed
with a knife, prepared to rape her.
"The likelihood is that she let you in, believing that Ryan was with
The judge told Whant that the murder had "left her family, Ryan Mayes, and
her friends bereft.
"The subsequent loss was compounded by the knowledge that her murderer had
raped her and then tried to destroy her body.
"The grief was made all the more deep because you did
not scruple to make the wholly false allegation that she had consensual sex with
The judge said Whant acted with "quite extraordinary hypocrisy" after the
murder was discovered, and even took flowers to the Grender household.
He said that having listened to his evidence he concluded that What was a
"calculating, vain and devious" individual.
But the judge said said the full facts of what happened on the morning of the
murder may never be known.
But he added: "The explanation for these crimes lies in part in your
"You told the police that she was 'feisty' and in my view she told you that
she was going to report you to the police for raping her, and that is why you
murdered her."Scratches on wrists
Whant's trial heard that Ms Grender's badly-burned body was discovered at the
flat in Broadmead Park, Lliswerry, Newport, on 5 February 2011 after
firefighters were called.
A post-mortem examination found her throat had been slashed and her stomach
stabbed. She had died before the fire started.
Whant was arrested four days later.
DNA tests confirmed he had had sex with Ms Grender, and scratches were found
on his wrists.
Whant had initially denied any contact with Ms Grender. But he later changed
his story and claimed he had had consensual sex with her the night she was
killed after an invitation by Mr Mayes.
He said he had only initially denied having sex with her because he did not
want to upset his girlfriend.
When giving evidence, Mr Mayes described this claim as "preposterous".
Whant was caught on CCTV by three separate cameras driving his car from the
party he had been to near Ms Grender's flat.
Blood on a shirt and in his car was also identified as Ms Grender's.
In: Regional News, Other News, Other
Tags: Evil, murder, 35, years.
Location: Newport, Wales, United Kingdom (UK/GB) (load item map)
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