How 'controlling' marketing manager Ben Green killed his girlfriend Maddie Durdant-Hollamby when she went to his Kettering home to break up with him
‘I thought he was quite controlling but he made Maddie happy’
A talented marketing executive with her whole life ahead of her. Ambitious and independent, but generous and fun-loving.
Yet a coroner heard today (Thursday, July 7) how Maddie Durdant-Hollamby’s short life was extinguished by her older boyfriend after she had gone to do the right thing and break up with him face-to-face rather than by text.
Maddie told friends how she was nervous about ending the relationship, and the court heard how within minutes of arriving at his smart new home in Slate Drive, Kettering, she had been killed by Ben Green, who then stabbed himself and died on the kitchen floor.
Wellingborough motorists face fortnight of full road closures
Cash, jewellery and watches stolen in Northamptonshire village break-in
Romanian rapist to be deported from Corby
All the 2022 A-Level results from across Corby, Kettering, Wellingborough and North Northamptonshire
Kettering floods in pictures
HM Coroner for Northamptonshire Anne Pember broke down when today’s Guildhall inquest was told how the loss of the 22-year-old had left her mum heartbroken.
Rachel Durdant-Hollamby said her daughter had grown up loving dancing and said the pair had many ‘cherished mother and daughter moments’ before her son Fabian was born. The court was told how Maddie doted on her baby brother, even changing his nappy and looking after him while her mum got on with household tasks.
"She was incredibly generous,” Rachel said in a statement read in court.
"She liked nothing better than seeing her family and friends. She was furloughed for the first six weeks of the pandemic and spent it baking and sunbathing.”
Maddie had gone from school into a career in marketing, landing a job at the firm her dad Steve Durdant-Hollamby, worked – Alumasc in Burton Latimer.
It was there she met her boss Ben Green, who was 21 years her senior.
So talented was Maddie that she was quickly headhunted by another firm, Keyline. But a relationship between Maddie and Ben had grown and the pair started seeing each other. Her dad had reservations because of Ben’s age.
Maddie’s salary increased and she began saving for a deposit for her own house. When Ben asked her to buy a home with him, she turned him down. She also refused to meet his children, telling him it wouldn’t be right as she had no intention of having a long-term relationship with him.
While Ben was waiting for his house to be built, he even lived with Maddie’s family for five weeks, befriending her dad and going out on runs with him.
Rachel didn’t notice anything amiss with the relationship, and hadn’t spotted any abusive behaviour.
In a statement to the court, Maddie’s pal Abbie Green painted a picture that will be familiar to so many starting out their adult lives. An iMessage group sharing their secrets with one another, video calls between the trio, nights out and shopping trips.
Abbie and Maddie had been friends since year nine, when Maddie had moved to Chatteris in the Fens. They later met beautician Harley and the three became inseparable.
Maddie began seeing Ben Green at Christmas 2019 and told her pals that he could be jealous.
"I thought he was quite controlling,” said Abbie. “But he made Maddie happy.”
The pair didn’t speak for three days after Ben became upset that Maddie had told him she found a man on ITV’s Love Island attractive. He would phone her when she was out and then waited for her to return home.
Maddie had planned to go on holiday to Jamaica with family members, but Ben wasn’t invited, which caused bickering. Ben was upset that Maddie would rather spend time with her family than with him.
She told her pals she wasn’t sure what to do about Ben and that they were on different paths. On August 25, the day before Maddie’s death, the trio discussed her options and Maddie resolved to go and see Ben after work the following day to break up with him. She told the group that he ‘wouldn’t let her do it by text’ and that she felt she owed it to him to do it face to face.
At 3.35pm the following day, she messaged her friends from work, saying ‘I’m so nervous’, and then at 5.51pm she asked her friends to phone her in an hour if they hadn’t heard from her. One minute later she texted them with the message ‘Love You XX’. That was the last message she sent.
The group didn’t hear from Maddie again, and tried texting and calling her on numerous occasions that evening. Abbie even tried to call Ben’s phone and left a message at 10.10pm that evening to check everything was OK.
There was no answer.
The following morning, August 27, they continued trying to get in touch with their pal but got no reply so they contacted Maddie’s mum Rachel.
At 1.30pm that day, officers were called to the house in Kettering where Ben had moved shortly before the killing, to do a welfare check.
There, they found Ben in the kitchen in a pool of blood and Maddie upstairs on the bed. Both were pronounced dead at the scene. The doors and windows were all locked apart from a rear patio door. There were no bloody footprints on the floor which might have suggested an intruder had been responsible.
Maddie had three stab wounds to her left shoulder and chest. She may have been alive for a short time after she was stabbed, but a pathologist told the court he could not say how long she lived. The blade of a broken knife was found in one of her wounds, with the handle left nearby. Her mobile phone was next to the bed.
Ben was discovered downstairs with a knife next to him. He had a large wound that had severed his jugular vein and other more superficial wounds to his wrists. There was also a possible defence wound found on the palm of his hand. He had a small amount of alcohol in his blood.
Officers who analysed the health app on Maddie’s apple watch were unable to get detailed data but they did find that recordings of her heart rate stopped just before 6pm.
Rachel Durdant-Hollamby told the inquest: “I feel as if our lives have been destroyed. I can’t quite see a way forward.
"I’m trying to keep it together for Fabian. I want the rest of his childhood to be as great as Maddie’s was.”
She said she felt robbed of helping Maddie choose her wedding dress, of picking out furniture with her for her house, and of kissing her babies.
"I just miss her,” said Rachel.
"There’s a huge hole in our lives where Maddie should be. She was just perfect and loving. We want her back.
“We were best friends. She’ll always be my best friend. My heart is broken.”
Recording a verdict of unlawful killing, the perpetually stoic coroner Anne Pember became emotional and had to pause.
She said: “In my 27 years as coroner I think this is the saddest case I’ve ever heard. I can’t imagine your pain at the loss of your daughter. I am truly sorry for your loss.”
Following Maddie’s death, a separate inquest took place into the death of Ben Green.
The coroner’s verdict was that he took his own life. The court heard it was impossible to tell what time he had died but it was possible that he had lived for a short time after the injuries were inflicted.
There was no evidence of any break-in.
Who was Ben Green?
The court heard Ben Green was born in Dewsbury in Yorkshire, the middle of three brothers. His mum had died in 2015 and her death had had a big effect on Ben. He had attended Manchester Metropolitan University before moving to Liverpool and marrying. He was married for ten years and three children before his marriage broke down in 2007. He had an amicable relationship with his former wife who, when she heard the dreadful news, said: “He wouldn’t hurt a fly.”
He regularly saw his children on Saturdays, driving up to their home on the Wirrall. He had moved to Northampton for work and his brother told the court he seemed happy.
Ben’s family and friends had also tried to get in touch with him when nobody had heard from him on the day of his death.
His brother Thomas Green told the court: “Ben is not violent. I think he would have reached out before doing something like that. It’s come as a big shock.”
Ben had no history of domestic violence.