A FORMER Army officer who killed an estate agent after subjecting her and her colleague to nearly nine hours of brutal attacks has been told he must serve a minimum of 34 years in prison by a judge who said his "savagery" was "almost beyond belief".

There were emotional scenes at Leeds Crown Court as Jeremy Green admitted murdering Nicole Waterhouse, 32, and attempting to murder Karen Browne, 24, at their flat in York.

After hearing how the pair were stabbed, had their throats cut and were smothered by Green, 26, Miss Waterhouse's family stood in front of her killer to make a series tearful impact statements to the court.

Darlington and Stockton Times:

Nicole Waterhouse

Sentencing Green, Judge Peter Collier QC said: "Your final savagery to each of them is almost beyond belief."

Darlington and Stockton Times:

Karen Browne

Judge Collier said: "Throughout the day you engaged in the most appalling and prolonged series of attacks on these young women.

"They were completely at your mercy.

"It is impossible to imagine the torment to which they were both subjected and the terror they experienced over those long hours."

Many in the packed court were in tears as Miss Waterhouse's father and three sisters stood just a few yards from Green as they told him how his "evil" actions had robbed them of their "angel".

The judge heard horrific details of how Green, who had once gone out on dates with Miss Browne, stabbed both women multiple times over a period of nearly nine hours - cutting their throats and smothering them.

The judge heard how Miss Browne, who survived the ordeal, was rendered unable to move by the repeated attacks and had to listen to her friend pleading with Green as he assaulted her in another bedroom.

Peter Moulson QC, prosecuting, told the court how both women endured hours of pain.

Miss Browne was later able to tell police how Green cut her throat on three different occasions, including with  a piece of glass; repeatedly tried to smother her with a pillow; wrapped a belt round her neck to strangle her and even leant on her injuries to try and speed up the flow of blood and hasten her death.

He said Miss Waterhouse, known as Nikki, had 65 different injuries, including a damaged spine.

Mr Moulson said Green, who had been discharged from the Yorkshire Regiment for "minor dishonesty" earlier last year, took phones, bank cards and jewellery from the women.

The prosecutor said he needed money for his rent the next day and a forthcoming trip to London.

There were extremely emotional scenes in court as Miss Waterhouse's family faced Green one-by-one across the court to read out their victim impact statements.

Her sister Danielle stared straight at the defendant and, in floods of tears, said: "I will always have three sisters and no-one will take them away from me - not even him.

"He's destroyed all our lives and hes taken a part of our family we can never replace."

She said: "My heart aches knowing she died alone with no-one around her."

Miss Waterhouse's father, John, stopped repeatedly to wipe tears from his eyes as he read out his statement facing Green.

Estate agent Mr Waterhouse said: "She was totally conned by this man's evilness."

Green, of Popes Head Court, York, who sat in the glass-fronted dock smartly dress in a pin-striped suit and surrounded by prison officers, looked down as the family members addressed their comments to him.

The Recorder of Leeds, Judge Collier, was told the stab injuries were probably caused by a lock-knife Green claimed he got in Afghanistan.

Green told a psychiatrist he carried the knife for protection following the murder of soldier Lee Rigby, in Woolwich, last year.

The court heard Green, who admitted murder and attempted murder, went to Afghanistan twice for acclimatisation but never left Camp Bastion and did not see active service.

Mr Moulson told the court how both women had met Green at a dating night and Miss Browne had only been out with him a couple of times and was no longer seeing him.

He said the defendant went into the flat to burgle it on October 20, thinking the women had gone out after conning his way into the building but decided to rob them when he found them in their bedrooms.

The prosecutor said the attacks in the flat started with Green stabbing Miss Browne with the lock-knife.

He said that despite Miss Browne shouting "get out or get help" to her friend, Miss Waterhouse "bravely" came into Miss Browne's bedroom to help her flatmate.

He told the judge that during the day Green sent messages to the women's families using their phones to make them think nothing was wrong.

And, Mr Moulson said, he also made more than 100 contacts with other women using his own phone while he was in the flat.

These women later said these calls were "perfectly normal".

The prosecutor said psychiatrists had examined Green but could find nothing to explain his actions.

He said that after leaving the flat he took out £750 using the bank cards he had stolen and went to supermarkets to buy food.

His flatmate said he was perfectly normal when he arrived at home.

Green was an officer with the Yorkshire Regiment but, the judge said, he was dismissed from the Army after he was court martialled for stealing from other officers "for no other reason that that either they had inconvenienced you or you wanted to wear a jacket with a medal on it".

Judge Collier said Green had "many advantages in life" growing up and said: "You appeared to be someone who had everything going for you."

He said he was satisfied there was no sexual or sadistic motivation for the attacks, but had still considered a whole life tariff for Green.

The judge sentenced Green to 24 years in prison for the attempted murder of Miss Browne, to run concurrently with his life sentence.

Speaking on behalf of Miss Waterhouse's family after the hearing, her father said: "The 20th of October (2013) was the worst day of our lives when our daughter Nikki was taken from us in a cruel, callous and cowardly act of murder.

"Nikki was a sweet, kind girl who never did anyone any harm. She was loved without limits by her family and friends.

"What she endured that day, we will have to endure for the rest of our lives.

"We are a strong family who will move forward together and our love for each other will help us to continue without her.

"We will always love Nikki and never forget her.

"Thank you to the police for their professional support and going above and beyond the call of duty."

Detective Chief Inspector Nigel Costello, of North Yorkshire Police's Major Crime Unit, who led the murder investigation, said: "I am satisfied with the sentence handed down by the court. It reflects the gravity of Green's planning, his horrific physical and mental control of both Nikki and Karen over an eight and a half hour period, and then the gratuitous violence that ended Nikki's life and which he intended would end Karen's.

"These were extremely brutal attacks on two defenceless women. On top of this, whilst at the flat and when Nikki and Karen would have been terrified as to their fate, he continued to contact numerous other women arranging dates via his mobile phone as if this was just any other normal day.

"Jeremy Green lived a 'fantasy life' and he lied to anyone he conversed with. He told stories to make himself more appealing but in truth he is a callous, deceitful, manipulative, dishonest and self-centred individual.

"Prior to his dishonourable discharge from the army, he had been trained for combat and since his dismissal remained physically fit, yet he still found it necessary to arm himself with a knife.

"Nikki and Karen were not confrontational and would have given Green money out of fear. Green had access to monies which were in his name, but he chose not to use this, rather taking from others which was a pattern throughout his life.

"There are so many more people affected by Green's actions that day who will never recover from the loss of their loved one. My thoughts at this time are with Nikki's family and friends."