Yorkshireman Andrew Lindo was the son of a property developer and financial advisor and worked as a school music teacher. On the surface, he was an ideal choice to inspire musical inclinations in children; he was a skilled pianist and an excellent singer, and had an outgoing, talkative nature to go with it. But underneath this external persona lurked a seasoned lothario who wove webs of deceit to cover up his string of affairs, and when he eventually escalated to murder, he tried to hide it just like all his other wrongdoing.
He had met his wife Marie Stewart while studying music at Huddersfield University and charmed her so thoroughly that she left her husband to be with him. She worked with disabled children, and it wasn’t long before they had a daughter together, in January 2010. To people who knew them, they looked like the perfect happy family.
What Marie didn’t realise was that Andrew had indulged in four affairs, as well as two brief dalliances with female co-workers, both at the same time. Lindo was a practiced liar, but even for him, it was almost impossible to keep his secret at work, and his two teaching colleagues found out they were being played. Once those flings ended, he began a relationship with a 15-year-old student and, concurrently, with a 29-year-old woman named Angela.
Things with Angela started getting serious, and the pair even talked about getting married, but Angela often wondered why Andrew never invited her over to his home. He had told her he was a single parent, but she noticed that he was unusually cagey about his personal life, and in the back of her mind there was a lingering doubt that he wasn’t telling her everything. Andrew was concerned that she would eventually uncover his lies, so to set her mind at rest, he asked her to spend the night with him at his home on 18 December 2010. The only problem was that his partner Marie, the mother of his child, still lived there and had no idea that Andrew was spending all his free time womanising.
Some men might have continued lying and found an excuse to avoid bringing their lover into their family home. Others might have realised they had run out of luck and ended the affair. But Andrew Lindo had another idea. On the evening that Angela was due to arrive, while his one-year-old daughter slept upstairs, he took off his belt, crept up behind his wife Marie and strangled her with it. He then picked up a plastic Winnie the Pooh chair belonging to his daughter and used it to bludgeon her over the head, before stabbing her 12 times with a kitchen knife. He calmly surveyed the scene before him, then packed Marie’s body into a suitcase which he then placed inside a freezer in the garage. He cleaned up any visible traces of blood and violence in the room, then woke his daughter and took her with him to pick up Angela.
When Andrew calmly welcomed Angela inside, her fears completely receded, and she mentally chastised herself for having ever been suspicious. As far as she could see, Andrew’s home was a typical bachelor pad and there were no signs of any other women in his life. The crafty adulterer had hidden all the photos of Marie and any of her belongings that might have given the game away.
The pair celebrated Christmas together and as they rang in the New Year, Angela had no idea that her boyfriend’s wife lay dead in the garage just yards away. Eventually, people who knew Marie started to question why they hadn’t heard from her and why she hadn’t shown up for work. Lindo cunningly posted updates on Marie’s Facebook page and send text messages from her phone to friends and family telling them that she was fine and would be home soon. He explained to anyone who asked that she had left him and was out of the country, implicitly believing in his skills of deception to get him out of trouble, never contemplating for a moment that he would be found out.
When the days and weeks passed and Marie still didn’t appear, her family grew concerned and contacted the police, who searched the Lindo residence on 13 February 2011. Andrew was so confident he would get away with murder that he hadn’t even bothered to dispose of the suitcase containing his wife’s body. When the police made the gruesome discovery and took him in for questioning, he wept crocodile tears and admitted to killing her, but claimed he had done it out of anger after discovering that she had been mistreating their daughter. Lindo may have pulled the wool over most people’s eyes for years, but the detectives were used to seeing through sordid lies, and they were reviled by his perpetual stories, all concocted to try and save his own skin.
The trial was held in September 2011 and 29-year-old Andrew Lindo pleaded guilty to manslaughter. The jury took less than an hour to convict him, and Judge Smith expressed his distaste in his summing-up, describing Lindo as a ‘cunning serial philanderer’ who had created a ‘despicable fiction’. Lindo was sentenced to 22 years in prison.
While behind bars, the lying lady-killer formed a band with some of the other inmates, taking the role of lead singer and pianist. On the drums was Christian Curniffe, who had murdered a father of five for his wallet. Mark Alexander, who had beaten his father to death and buried him under the patio, was the group’s guitarist and violinist. Shane Thomas, jailed for shooting a man dead outside a bar, completed the killer quartet. The musicians play a mixture of rock and jazz and can be found practicing every weekend in the chapel at high security prison Gartree in Market Harborough, Leicestershire. They often perform for warders and other prisoners in special concerts at Christmas and other events throughout the year.
An inside source at the prison commented on the unusual band, saying, ‘When they play, they look like a normal, talented group of musicians. You wouldn’t think they were all killers. The equipment is really good – I bet people on the outside would love getting this music gear for free.’ He went on to explain that the prison’s diversity team was responsible for organising the concerts, saying, ‘They make sure there’s something for you whether you are black, white, straight, gay whatever. Last year there was a gay day, and a guy came in dressed in police uniform. You wouldn’t believe half the stuff that goes on in here.’
A Ministry of Justice spokesperson claimed that there were no musical bands in prison, but refused to comment on whether inmates were allowed access to instruments. But it wasn’t the first time that criminals had come together to make music. In 2008, murderer Rickie Tregaskis recorded a CD in Broadmoor with sex offenders Robert White and Lee Porritt, to compete with rival group The Incurables, made up of six violent lawbreakers led by rapist Gary Dyer. Some staff were said to be disgusted by their dark lyrics, and it was reported that during a performance, they sung on stage with a female therapy assistant clad in a revealing outfit. A Broadmoor spokesperson defended the musical programme, saying, ‘There are proven clinical benefits to activities that stop patients becoming withdrawn’.
Whether we support the freedom to enjoy music while incarcerated, or whether these tales leave us on a sour note, most of us would agree it is surprising that four cruel men could come together to create something pleasant and melodic, when each of them caused such discord and disharmony in their lives outside.