Haunted mum reveals why she can’t stop visiting daughter’s grisly murder scene

Surrounded by beautiful flowers, photographs and tributes to her late daughter, Adele Jarvis could be stood at a well-kept grave.

There is a cross nailed to a fence among laminated poems, angel ornaments and blades of countryside grass.

And a plaque shines brightly from the centre.

But Adele, 55, is not in a cemetery.

She is standing at the grisly spot where her 23-year-old daughter was stabbed to death six years ago.

While some parents of murdered children may try and dispel from their memory the way in which their lives were taken, the Jarvis family are determined to let nobody forget how Natalie died.

So instead of avoiding the haunting stretch of road where it happened, Natalie’s mum Adele, dad Mark, sister Gemma and sister-in-law Debbie continue to visit regularly.

Adam Whelehan, then 23, was convicted of murdering his girlfriend Natalie in April 2013 and sentenced to 26 years in prison.

He stabbed her 20 times in the neck with a silver multi-tool because he wanted to end their relationship and saw murder as the only way out.

Six years later, Adele says some people criticise her for continuing to mark the spot where her youngest bled to death.

“One day I showed a friend some pictures of the site and she said ‘I wouldn’t do that’ – it made me burst into tears,” Adele says.

“But the truth is, you don’t know what you’ll do until it happens to you.

“When we first did it we just wanted to mark the place where she died so we put the cross up with a couple of pictures. But then it got bigger.

“Usually when we’re up there we have people stop and talk to us because it says ‘cruelly murdered’ on the plaque, so they ask what happened.

“We want people to see it and keep talking about Natalie and what happened to her.”

On the night of her murder, McDonald’s worker Natalie got home from a shift at 10pm and chatted to her mum before jumping in the shower and changing into her pyjamas.

At 10:30pm, Natalie left her home in her boyfriend Adam Whelehan’s car.

The pair dated officially for four months before breaking it off but they continued to see each other casually.

Unbeknown to the “bubbly” 23-year-old, Whelehan had a knife when he picked her up and his friend, Tom Fuller, was in the boot.

After a short drive, Whelehan stopped in a dark countryside car park and got out of the car with Natalie.

She never made it back to the vehicle.

Graphic photographs of the murder scene were shown to jurors during Whelehan’s trial which revealed blood spatterings stretching 150 metres.

He had continued to attack Natalie as she tried to desperately run away from him in the direction of a countryside pub.

“It’s beggars belief what that poor girl must have gone through in that time,” Detective Inspector Gavin Moss, of Kent Police, said after the verdict.

Whelehan’s co-defendant in the trial, Thomas Fuller, 23, of Oakley Drive, Eltham, was cleared by the jury of murder.

Mum Adele says: “We can’t get rid of the anger. Within 20 years, Adam will be out.

“Nothing is going to get better for us. The things I put at the scene are made for graves – but it’s not her grave.

“We didn’t get a peaceful ending with her. We didn’t get to say goodbye.

“If Natalie had died of a prolonged illness, I think I could have come to terms with this better. But we are in a never-ending rut and my biggest fear is that she will be forgotten.”

Whelehan, from Sidcup, Kent, who denied murder, claimed he attacked Natalie in self defence after she lunged at him with a knife.

He said she had been using a false pregnancy to harass him in the weeks before her death.

But Whelehan’s friends said he boasted about the killing which Judge Philip Statman later ruled was “callous, savage and premeditated…over a period of many weeks”.

Days before carrying out the brutal murder, Whelehan tweeted: “It’s alright to kill someone these days, isn’t it? Think I might do that.”

Whelehan later posted: “How to do it? #murderousmind.”

Adele, Mark and Gemma discovered Natalie was dead seven and a half hours after the murder, on the morning of October 4.

“I got up at 6.20am and Natalie wasn’t at home,” Adele said.

“There was a feeling of dread but I thought the worst thing that could have happened was she had been in a car accident and because she was wearing pyjamas, she didn’t have any ID on her. That was the worst possible scenario.

“After calling around, I got dressed and phoned the police because it was so out of character.

“I’ll never forget that the lady on the phone asked me how tall Natalie was and the colour of her hair.

“We didn’t realise but they’d already made a positive ID of her body an hour before I called. The woman told me an officer would be at my house within the hour.

“When he came he just blurted it out – she was dead and she had been murdered.

“I started screaming.”

Mark, 55, described seeing his daughter’s body three days later as “unbearable”.

“It’s worse than the worst horror film you’ve ever seen,” he said.

"It does things to your insides. It brings out emotions you didn’t realise existed.”

Whelehan handed himself into Bexleyheath police station at 3am – three and a half hours after the murder.

Natalie’s older sister Gemma, 33, who lives with her mum, dad and wife Debbie, said: “In general it does us no favours seeing it [the spot where Natalie was killed] and the atmosphere in the house changes in the lead up to us going there.

“But we can’t stop.”

Natalie does not have a grave as her family keep her ashes in a teardrop urn in their living room.

Adele said: “No one knows unless they’re going through it, what something like this does to a family.

“I can’t tell you how difficult it is every single day. I’m constantly tired. I get up, I get dressed and I do what I have to do but it’s just s***. And nothing can ever get better.

“We still don’t know what we’re going to do with her [ashes]. She hated being cold.

“She’s in the house with us which is where she always wanted to be. And yes, we say ‘she’ like she’s still there.”

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Natalie’s family describe her as a “loud, fun-loving, happy homebody” who liked Sourz shots, chilling at home and laughing hysterically with friends.

“She always said she was never going to leave home,” Adele said.

“She said she was going to have her children and get married here and I really think she would have.”

Dad Mark added: “It’s probably indicative of life itself but people don’t know what to say when they’re talking about death, especially a death like Natalie’s. You can see people withering away from you.

“But we want to talk about our Natalie.”

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