Poppy Devey Waterhouse murder: Evil ex-boyfriend destroyed bright graduate's chances to 'change the world'

Poppy Devey Waterhouse was senselessly murdered by her ex-boyfriend Joe Atkinson.
Poppy Devey Waterhouse was senselessly murdered by her ex-boyfriend Joe Atkinson.

She was a high flying graduate with her whole life ahead of her before her but her ex-boyfriend destroyed all that in a jealous rage.

Jealous murderer Joe Atkinson jailed for life over brutal killing of girlfriend Poppy Devey Waterhouse as she was about to leave him

The mother of Poppy Devey Waterhouse, Julie Devey, leaves Leeds Crown Court. Picture: SWNS

The mother of Poppy Devey Waterhouse, Julie Devey, leaves Leeds Crown Court. Picture: SWNS

Poppy Devey Waterhouse was popular, gifted and much-loved - now her family and friends face living the rest of their lives without her by their side.

24-year-old Poppy was a bright young woman, graduating with a first class honours degree in 2015 and going on to achieve a Masters in statistics.

How did former Wetherby High School pupil Joe Atkinson become a cold hearted killer?

And she wasn’t just academically gifted but was kind too - spending much of her teenage years volunteering to teach young children how to play tennis.

Originally from Somerset, Poppy met her killer, former Wetherby High School pupil Joe Atkinson, while the pair were students together at The University of Nottingham.

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They were a couple for several years and, after graduating, they decided to travel the world together.

Poppy’s Instagram page is littered with photos from the couple’s romantic adventures around the globe.

They had visited destinations such as South America, the US, Sweden, Iceland, Greece and Morocco.

Back home in England, other photos show them socialising in bars on Call Lane in Leeds and watching tennis at Wimbledon.

In 2017, Poppy settled in Leeds, moving into a city centre flat with her then boyfriend and starting on her career with an impressive role as a quantitative trading analyst at bookmakers William Hill’s Leeds offices.

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Julie Devey, Poppy's heartbroken mother told the court how gifted Poppy was.

She said: “Before she was even in school, the 24-year-old was showing signs she was gifted in mathematics, picking out shapes and colours in the carpet at nursery.”

The intelligent young woman was moved up to Year 6 early due to her intelligence.

She was voted the student "most likely to change the world" at school. Ms Devey says her chance to change the world has been "ripped away from her".

In an emotional statement the heartbroken mother said: "Half of me died on Friday, December 14. My baby, my daughter, my life as I know it has ended, has died suddenly, violently and cruelly.

"As a parent my basic duty is to keep my daughter safe. I failed and I have kept that failure with me wherever I go. The future does not exist to me. All I see is a dense grey fog."

Adina Claire, Acting Chief Executive at Women’s Aid, said that Poppy had everything to live for before her brutal murder.

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She said: “Poppy Devey Waterhouse was a woman with everything to live for – friends, family, her love of travelling and much more. Tragically, her life was taken away.

“Poppy is not just a victim of fatal male violence but a daughter, a sister, a friend, a university graduate, and a colleague. That’s why it is so important that we give due recognition to Poppy Devey Waterhouse by telling her story.”

Poppy’s life was savagely cut short by her ex-boyfriend Joe Aktkinson, 25, from Wetherby when he flew into a jealous rage at their home in the Saxton flats development in Richmond Hill on December 14 last year.

She suffered more than 100 injuries in the sickening attack, including 49 knife injuries.

Joe Atkinson pleads guilty to murder of Leeds maths graduate Poppy Devey Waterhouse

After stabbing Poppy, Atkinson tried to cover up his evil crime drove to the Bramham area to dispose of his clothes, the court heard.

He pleaded not guilty in January and was set to put Poppy’s family through a five week trial date in June.

Atkinson finally admitted his guilt this month and pleaded guilty to the brutal murder of innocent Poppy on Friday, April 5.

He was sentenced to life in prison with a minimum of 15 years and 310 days after confessing to the cold hearted killing.