Mother reveals her sister and niece were murdered by sibling's partner

Controlling boyfriend who tortured his partner with an axe made her watch as he shot their two-year-old daughter dead before turning the gun on her

  • Jeannette Chambers, 44, from Suffolk, was suspicious of her sister’s boyfriend
  • Mother-of-one Chrissie, then 38, wanted to stay with partner despite warnings 
  • David Oakes, then 50, brutally shot Chrissie and their daughter Shania, two 
  • Now Jeannette is determined to warn other women in abusive relationships 

A mother-of-one whose sister and young niece were violently murdered by her boyfriend is now urging other women to leave abusive partners.

Jeannette Chambers, 44, of Sudbury, Suffolk, was devastated when her sister, Chrissie, then 38, and her niece Shania, two, were brutally killed in June 2011 by Chrissie’s ex-boyfriend David Oakes, then 50.

Oakes tortured Chrissie, bludgeoning her with an axe and forcing her to watch him shoot their daughter in the head, before shooting her dead.

The slayings happened the day before the courts were set to rule on a custody application over Shania.

Now Jeannette is speaking out for the first time to urge other women in abusive relationships to leave their partners, warning: ‘Watch for red flags before it’s too late. As soon as they start controlling you, get out.’  

Jeannette Chambers, 44, of Sudbury, Suffolk, pictured was devastated when her sister, Chrissie, then 38, and her niece Shania, two, were brutally shot in June 2011 by Chrissie’s ex-boyfriend David Oakes, then 50 

Jeannette is urging women to leave their abusive or controlling partners. Pictured: Victims Chrissie and two-year-old Shania

Jeannette had always been close to her big sister Chrissie, who was three years her senior and also had an older daughter from a previous relationship.

In 2005, Jeannette became concerned when her sibling shared that she had a new boyfriend – Oakes. 

Jeannette, mother to nine-year-old James, said: ‘Chrissie was gorgeous and bubbly. And to be honest, I never thought any of her exes were good enough for her.

‘I told her to stay away from David as I’d heard he was violent. But Chrissie insisted on staying with him.’ 

Jeannette said she was ‘creeped out’ after meeting David for the first time, revealing his icy blue eyes made her ‘shiver’ 

Jeannette was always wary of Oakes, claiming he ‘creeped her out’ the first time they met. 

‘He was a bulky guy and his icy blue eyes made me shiver,’ she recalled. ‘When I tried to speak to him, he ignored me.’

Over the next few weeks, Chrissie seemed blissfully happy with her new man, who bought her new clothes and took her out to dinner.

Jeannette said: ‘When I spoke to Chrissie, it caused arguments between her and David. 

Jeanette said it quickly became clear her sister was making up excuses not to see her, a result of her being controlled by Oakes

‘I tried to meet up with her but she’d say she was busy. It was clear that he was controlling her.’

It caused tension between the sisters and they stopped speaking for six years. In the meantime, Chrissie gave birth to daughter Shania in 2009.

Jeannette revealed: ‘I ached to meet my niece. But I knew David would be mad if I contacted Chrissie, so I left it.

‘One day in March 2011, Chrissie rang our mother in tears. I offered to pick her up.

Jeanette said she and her sister were always close, and Chrissie – pictured as a child – was ‘gorgeous and bubbly’ 

‘When I saw Chrissie, her sparkle had gone and her eyes looked dull. She told me that David had taken Shania.’

Back at their mum’s house, Chrissie revealed Oakes had been controlling and an aggressive bully throughout their relationship.

She wasn’t allowed to go out alone, and he was violent too – beating and and strangling her on occasion.

When she informed Oakes she was leaving him, the thug ended up taking their daughter Shania.

Jeanette and her sister Chrissie (pictured) were estranged for six years before Chrissie left her abusive partner David

But a judge ordered David to return Shania, then two, back to Chrissie, and thankfully, he handed her over at court.

Jeannette said: ‘She was a gorgeous little girl, with blonde curls and an infectious smile – just like her mum.’

Over the next few weeks, Oakes called Chrissie constantly, begging her to take him back, but she refused.

A few days later, a police officer visited Jeannette at 4am – and delivered the devastating news Oakes had killed Chrissie and Shania.

Chrissie and Shania were brutally killed by David in a violent attack in which he tortured them before shooting them both 

She said: ‘My world fell to pieces. It felt like I couldn’t breathe. Shaking, I called my parents.

‘All the police would tell me was that he’d killed them with a shotgun and David had been arrested.

‘I couldn’t believe I was burying my sister and niece. It was a living nightmare.’

In May 2012, Oakes, of Steeple, near Maldon, appeared at Chelmsford Crown Court and denied murdering Chrissie and Shania.

Evil Oakes broke into Chrissie’s home while she was asleep with Shania, then tortured her and shot them both dead 

The court heard how Oakes had broken into Chrissie’s house while she and Shania slept. It was the night before a crucial court hearing where a judge was to give Chrissie full custody of Shania.

Oakes was armed with weapons including a shotgun, an axe, wire, pliers, a drill and petrol.

The trial of David Oakes

David Oakes, 50, was jailed in November 2012 after he went to Christine Chambers’ house in Braintree, Essex, where he subjected her to ‘degrading assaults’ before blasting her and her daughter Shania, two, with a shotgun.

His trial heard that Oakes stormed Ms Chambers’ home, laden with weapons, and killed the family just as they had gained a restraining order against him during a bitter custody battle.

Afterwards he shot himself in the face during a botched suicide attempt, but survived.

Ms Chambers’ 10-year-old daughter fled the house during the ordeal as police outside attempted to negotiate with the killer.

Oakes, of Steeple, near Maldon, was given two whole-life jail terms after being found guilty of the murders, which happened in June 2012.

He tied Chrissie up and forced her to say she loved him before torturing her, punching her in the head and bludgeoning her with the axe to the point where her ear was left hanging off.

Afterwards he undressed her top half, disfigured her torso and cut her hair off.

He also shot Chrissie in the knee and the thigh, then carried Shania out of her bedroom.

Oakes then forced Chrissie to watch him shoot Shania in the head, before shooting Chrissie dead. He then tried to kill himself but failed. 

In court, Oakes claimed Chrissie had shot Shania, but the jury didn’t believe him and found him guilty of two counts of murder. He was jailed for two life terms in May 2012. 

But just 10 months into his sentence in February 2013, Oakes died in prison from cancer.

Jeannette said: ‘I was pleased knowing that he would no longer be able to hurt another woman. But I couldn’t believe that he had died. 

‘It’s not justice, he should be rotting in jail for the rest of his life. 

‘He was never punished for the disgusting way he treated my niece and sister.’

She added: ‘I think of Chrissie and Shania all the time. I’m telling their story to encourage other women to leave their abusive partners. 

‘It’s too late for my sister, but you can save yourself.’

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