A murderer wrote ‘it was me’ with red nail varnish on his girlfriend’s body after stabbing her to death.
Daniel Grant Smith, 41, had been in a ‘toxic’ relationship with Imogen Bohajczuk before the killing.
After stabbing Ms Bohajczuk he placed her body on a bed and put a bottle of perfume in her hand before scrawling a chilling confession on her right leg.
He then took her bank card and blew the entire balance on booze, leaving her body in the bedroom for two weeks.
Manchester Crown Court heard the couple’s relationship was characterised by alcohol abuse and violence.
Following an argument in February this year, Smith attacked her in a ‘brutal and ferocious’ fashion.
First he beat her, then repeatedly stabbed her with a kitchen knife – at least two of the wounds penetrated the bone.
Smith, of Oldham, then moved her body to the bedroom, positioned her on the bed next to a soft toy and put a bottle of perfume in her hand, before daubing the words: “It was me” in red nail varnish on her right leg.
Smith then left her body for two weeks, took her bank card and mobile phone, and blew her entire bank account on alcohol.
It wasn’t until two weeks later, following a welfare check from the charity supporting Ms Bohajczuk, that she was discovered.
After pleading guilty to murder at an earlier hearing, Smith was jailed for life – to serve a minimum period of 17-and-a-half years.
Prosecuting, Tim Storrie QC told the court that Ms Bohajczuk, 29, was living at a flat on Ashton Road which was supported by the charity, Nacro.
She was a ‘vulnerable woman’ who had a history of being the target of domestic abuse.
In late 2020 she got into a relationship with Smith, was loyal to him and said the pair were intending to marry, but told her support worker that she stayed with Smith despite him “dragging her down”.
It was the same support worker who made a welfare call on March 4.
There they discovered Ms Bohajczuk’s body and a police investigation was launched.
Two weeks before on February 15, there had been an ‘incidence of violence’ between Smith and Gregory Johnson, an ex-boyfriend of Ms Bohajczuk.
“By February 18 further contact between Imogen and Johnson included revelations from her that she was continuing to be the victim of physical abuse and that she thought she might be killed,” Mr Storrie QC said.
“Smith was present in Imogen’s flat for most of the day.
“She sent messages in the afternoon to Johnson that read: ‘Get him out of my house’ and ‘I thought I was going to die . . . He strangled me so much I nearly died and then he got a knife’.”
At 5pm Ms Bohajczuk called the police twice, on the second call she said Smith had left her house and she would not let him back in because he had ‘gripped her neck’.
She then messaged Mr Johnson on WhatsApp and sent him images of the injuries she sustained before he told her to go to the police. There was no response to his last message.
The court heard that Smith then used Ms Bohajczuk’s phone as his own over the next few days, before activating it with a new SIM card.
Just after 4pm on February 19 he used her bank card at a local newsagents, then again at a petrol station.
“When arrested he was found in possession of the card itself,” the prosecutor continued.
“By that time there had been 38 transactions on the card. The account had been emptied and was overdrawn by £400.”
When officers attended Ms Bohayczuk’s house, they found a ‘grim scene’, the court heard.
“Imogen Bohayczuk had been laid on her bed, her body had been arranged as though she were a spectacle,” Mr Storrie continued.
“Her arms were crossed and she appeared to be clutching a bottle of perfume. A soft toy was by her neck.
“There had been rudimentary attempts to clean the scene.
“Her legs were crossed at the ankle, and on examination, the discovery was made that her body had been daubed, in nail varnish, with the words ‘It was me’.
“Chillingly an exhibition had been made of her body.”
In a statement, Ms Bohajczuk’s mother spoke of her ‘intelligent, kind, caring, beautiful, full of life and ambitious’ daughter.
She said: “Her little boy will never know the power of her hugs or giggle uncontrollably after sharing a moment together.
“They will never share a bedtime story, holidays, trips to see Father Christmas, trips to the zoo or the magic of Christmas morning.
“As parents, our instincts are to protect and support our children, but where do you begin to comfort our remaining children through this situation?”
Smith was said to have convictions for 29 offences including battery, burglary and kidnap.
Mitigating, his defence counsel Benjamin Knight said his client suffered from alcohol dependency syndrome and mental health issues.
“His actions were chaotic,” he said.
“He suffered immediate remorse, he does explain why he moved her body.. In short he described that being what he felt was right.
“It was her favourite bottle of perfume and her favourite toy – it was the realisation of what he had done, not to create a spectacle.”
He added that following her death in the aftermath, he drank to excess and ‘needed the alcohol’.
Sentencing, Judge Patrick Field QC said: “When her body was found on 4th March it soon became apparent that she met her death following a brutal and ferocious attack.
“On her right leg you had daubed the words, “It was me” in red nail varnish.
“This macabre graffiti is said to be some kind of confession by you; a sign to the police that you were responsible for the killing.
“I reject that notion utterly. If you had wanted to make clear to the police what you had done, you could have gone to them and told them.
“This act looks like an act of callous and cruel triumphalism.
“There was cruelty here because you desecrated the body of the woman you had just killed in order to proclaim what you had just done.”
Smith, of Ashton Road, was jailed for life and will serve a minimum sentence of 17-and-a-half years, less the 143 days spent on remand.