In a horribly familiar scenario, Angela Best was murdered by her partner Theodore Johnson after their one-year relationship broke down and she threatened to leave him. On 15 December 2016, 51-year-old Angela Best’s bloodied body was found on the floor of the living room inside his flat in Islington, London just hours after Johnson threw himself under an express train 14 miles away at Cheshunt Train Station. Believing she was about to leave him for another man, 63-year-old Johnson bludgeoned Angela Best with a claw hammer before strangling her to death with her own dressing gown cord.
Theodore Johnson survived his suicide attempt, losing his right arm and left hand and now uses a wheelchair. On 5 January 2018, he was found guilty of murder and sentenced to spend at least 26 years in prison. “She suffered an unimaginably terrible death,” the Judge Richard Marks told Johnson as he jailed him. “Such repeated offending, resulting in three separate court cases, must be almost unprecedented,” he continued.
This tragic case of domestic violence is not the first time Theodore Johnson has murdered his partner. The London Evening Standard reported that Johnson has previous convictions for the manslaughter of his wife in 1981 and second partner in 1993.
It appears Johnson hid his past from Angela Best and repeatedly denied being in a relationship to officers monitoring him after his convictions. In 1981, Johnson killed his wife Yvonne Johnson by hitting her over the head with a vase before pushing her off the balcony of their home in a high-rise tower block in Wolverhampton, the BBC reports. He was convicted of manslaughter and jailed for 3 years. At the time he claimed his wife was violent towards him and his actions resulting in her death were provoked.
Twelve years later, he faced court again charged with the manslaughter of his partner Yvonne Bennett. The couple had separated but remained in contact due to their 2-year-old daughter. Johnson strangled Yvonne Bennett with a belt before calling police to confess to his crime. Before police arrived at his Finsbury Park home, he tried to take his own life by hanging himself from a tree. The result of this second trial was admission to a secure psychiatric hospital, where he remained until his release in 1997.
Theodore Johnston’s conviction for the murder of Angela Best has ensured he will be behind bars for many years to come. Now 64, he will be 90-years-old before being considered for release.
His repeated brutality against his partners mirrors that of other men who have killed multiple partners in their life. Gregory Green is serving 102 years in prison for the horrific murders of his two teenage stepchildren, his own two children and the attempted murder of his wife in September 2016 in Detroit. These murders came eight years after he murdered his first wife Tonya Glayton Green in 1991, stabbing her multiple times while she was pregnant with their first child.
Colorado man Harold Henthorn is another now serving life in prison for the murder of his second wife, Toni Henthorn, who he pushed off a cliff at Rocky Mountain National Park in September 2012 on their 12th wedding anniversary. During the investigation into her death, police uncovered that the accidental death of his first wife Sandra ‘Lynn’ Henthorn in 1995 was, in fact, a murder carried out by Henthorn in order to claim her life insurance.
Understandably, there are many questions now surrounding the release of Theodore Johnson from in-patient psychiatric treatment and his monitoring within the community. The devastated family of Angela Best has said, “The shock still remains and the loss is traumatising, immense, profound and utterly devastating.”