Gemma Finnigan: The brutal killing which shocked a community

Police officers and paramedics at the scene of the killing of Gemma Finnigan in Church View, Boldon Colliery
Police officers and paramedics at the scene of the killing of Gemma Finnigan in Church View, Boldon Colliery

The brutal killing of Gemma Finnigan shocked the community of Boldon where she lived in 2013.

She was found in the flat where she lived with partner Daniel Johnson.

Main story: Family hope for answers as inquest announced into death of Gemma Finnigan

She had been strangled and stabbed repeatedly after Johnson claimed he had heard voices in his head that she was possessed by Satan.

The killing came 17 years after Johnson had murdered a man – 33-year-old David Younas – in a street attack in Newcastle.

The couple had met while he had been on day release from prison in 2008, where he had been serving a life sentence.

In the weeks before he killed Gemma, Johnson, then 32, had developed a bizarre interest in conspiracy theories and aliens.

Gemma had been discovered by police in the bedroom of their home in Church View after Johnson had been found wandering around his old school in Kenton, Newcastle, shirtless and acting strangely.

Johnson was sentenced to life in 2014 at Newcastle Crown Court for manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibilty, and a serious case review was carried out into Gemma’s death.

In February 2015, a summary of the report was handed to Gemma’s family leaving them angered.

It reported probation officials said the full extent of Johnson’s past was made clear to the family in a meeting at which Johnson told of his crime – a statement her mother Jennifer Finnigan has always strongly denied.

The report went on to say the way the Probation Service handles such meetings has now changed, stating that “they normally now take place jointly with the police, and there is usually a fuller record about what exactly has been said”.

Later that same year a Domestic Homicide Review was carried out and given to Gemma’s family.

In it, it highlighted the failings of a number of different agencies to communicate with one another.

Last year, determined to seek justice over her daughter’s death, Jennifer, with the help of national domestic violence charity Refuge, met Baroness Helen Newlove.

The charity also supported Gemma’s mum with a solicitor, who has been helping them to seek an inquest into Gemma’s death,

This month, Jennifer received the news she had been waiting for – an inquest will be opened into her daughter’s death. Four years after she was visited by police and given the heart-breaking news her daughter had been killed.