MURDERER Thomas Griffiths staged his victim’s body in a bid to make it look like she had taken her own life.

That was what Ellie Gould’s father, Matthew, first believed when he found his daughter’s lifeless body in the kitchen of their Calne home as he returned from work on May 3.

A Bristol judge this morning described 18-year-old Griffiths’ attempts to cover his tracks as chilling.

Sentencing the Derry Hill teen to life imprisonment for the murder of his former girlfriend, Mr Justice Garnham said: “You left Ellie on the floor with the knife embedded in her throat and her left hand around the handle of the knife.

“Whether you left the knife in place after the last stabbing or re-inserted it after she was dead is uncertain.

“There can be no more dreadful scene for any parent to contemplate than that which confronted Ellie’s father when he come home that day from work.

“He came into his kitchen at about 3pm to find his beloved daughter laying on the floor in a pool of her own blood, her neck and face cut about and a kitchen knife embedded in her throat.

“She was stiff and cold and entirely beyond saving.”

The judge said the pair had argued.

“You and you alone know exactly what happed next but what is clear is at some point you put your hands around Ellie’s neck and started to throttle her,” Mr Justice Garnham told a tearful Griffiths.

“She tried desperately to fight back, scratching at your neck in the process.

“You did not have the sense or the decency to stop. Instead, you picked up a kitchen knife.

“You then carried out the most appalling attack on this defenceless girl, repeatedly stabbing her to the face and neck.

“The pain and terror she must have suffered in her last moments as your frenzied knife attack continued is beyond imagining.

“Not able to face up to what you had done you then attempted to cover up this dreadful crime.

“Your efforts were not remotely sophisticated and were never going to work, but they demonstrate that your thoughts after this attack were centred on yourself, not the innocent young woman you had just killed.”