Craig Woodhall, 41, admitted stabbing his 31-year-old wife Victoria to death (Picture: PA)

A man has admitted murdering his estranged wife in a ‘brutal’ machete attack in front of her neighbours.

Craig Woodhall, 41, pleaded guilty to stabbing his wife Victoria, 31, multiple times after chasing her from their home in Barnsley.

Detectives said Woodhall dragged his wife to the ground and stabbed her several times with a ‘Gurkha-style machete knife’ before walking away, but returned twice to inflict more violence.

Mrs Woodhall suffered ‘significant and extensive’ injuries in the attack on March 29, which was carried out in front of several people.

Woodhall stabbed his wife several times with a ‘Gurkha-style machete knife’ (Picture: Tom Maddick SWNS)

Woodhall fled the scene but was arrested a short time later by two officers after a car flashed its headlights at them and the defendant got out of the vehicle.

Detective Inspector Ben Wood said: ‘Victoria was subjected to a brutal and sustained attack and there were several people in the immediate vicinity who witnessed this horrifying murder.

‘Victoria’s injuries were significant and extensive – she was stabbed with a Gurkha-style machete knife, which our officers recovered from the scene.

‘The violence she suffered was so extreme that she had multiple skull fractures, as well as significant injuries to her head, face, neck, arms, hands, shoulders and back.

Neighbours called 999 as Woodhall launched his brutal attack on Victoria (Picture: Tom Maddick SWNS)

‘CCTV footage recovered as part of our inquiry showed that he dragged Victoria to the ground and stabbed her several times before walking away. He returned a further two times, inflicting more violence.

‘While I am pleased that Woodhall has accepted responsibility for his crime, this will do little to comfort Victoria’s family and loved ones. I send my deepest condolences to them as they come to terms with their loss.

‘This was a horrific attack. I know this incident caused a significant deal of distress within the local community, especially among those residents who witnessed the murder.

‘Those eyewitnesses have received support from our partners at Victim Care to process the traumatic impact of this crime.’

Tributes were paid to Mrs Woodhall, an operating department practitioner, by Rotherham NHS Foundation Trust after her death.

Chief nurse Angela Wood said: ‘She was a cherished and much-loved colleague working in our operating theatres.’

Woodhall will be sentenced on October 2.

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