A pub chef has been found guilty of murdering his ex-partner more than a decade ago after an undercover police officer befriended him and recorded a confession.
Darren Osment, 41, killed Claire Holland in early June 2012 during a drunken row.
Ms Holland, who was 32, was last seen leaving a pub in Bristol city centre – but the mother-of-four’s body has never been found and there are no forensics implicating the killer.
An undercover officer, posing as a man named Paddy O’Hara and pretending to be involved in the criminal underworld, was assigned to investigate Osment.
The trial at Bristol Crown Court was told the officer witnessed many instances of his violent temper – particularly after drinking.
Prosecutor Andrew Langdon KC told the jury that Osment had an “explosive temper with a propensity to use violence when angry”, and likely “lost his temper, lost control of himself” when he killed Ms Holland.
Crucially, police had several confessions Osment had made over the years in which he said he strangled Ms Holland, cut up her body and dumped her in the River Avon.
The court heard he confessed to six different people including the undercover officer, friends, an ex-girlfriend, a 999 operator and a prison inmate.
Osment was “carrying the burden of knowing what he did to her” and had “sought to relieve himself of the burden” through his confessions, Mr Langdon said.
Ms Holland and Osment were both alcoholics and met in 2008 when they worked in a cafe.
They had a child in 2010 who was put in foster care amid claims of alcohol-fuelled domestic violence.
Police started investigating Osment again in 2019 after he dialled 999 and admitted to the murder.
The undercover officer won his confidence and the pair would play pool and snooker, go for walks together, and engage in supposed criminality.
Jurors heard conversations in which Osment discussed alibis and potentially blaming others for the murder.
‘I did what I did’
In one recording, he tells the officer: “Yeah because of what she did, f****** c*** mate, f*** her. End of, f*** em, she ain’t going to be seeing the light of day again, don’t worry about that.”
In another, Osment said he had “knife skills” due to his chef training.
He ran his hand across his chest while making a swishing sound to indicate he’d cut up Ms Holland’s body.
“Like I said, I’m not going to go into any details, I did what I did, I did what I done…” Osment said.
He suggested he killed her because he believed she was responsible for their child being taken into care.
“It makes me feel sick. But I did it for [my child]. Cause she harmed my f****** child. And how they were brought up is f****** wrong.”
Osment denied murder and claimed the confessions were the ramblings of a “drunken idiot”.
Detective Superintendent Darren Hannant said it was vital to keep the undercover officer safe and that the investigation team didn’t know about him until July 2022 – a year and a half after he was first deployed.
He described the murder as “a brutal and premeditated crime motivated by his intense hatred of Claire”.
He said Osment had lured her to the pub where he worked in the Clifton area on 6 June 2012, killed her and likely disposed of her body in water.
Osment will be sentenced on 20 December.