Episode 16 of the first season of ‘Meet, Marry, Murder’ features the tragic death of a South African native, Melanie Clark, in her Bromsgrove, UK, home on 2017 New Year’s Eve. While the police did not have to look much for the killer, the case attracted national media attention due to an unethical covering of a domestic abuse incident. If you’re interested in learning more about the case, including the killer’s identity, we’ve your back. Let’s begin then, shall we?
How Did Melanie Clark Die?
Melanie Clark, a South African native, had spent her formative years in South Africa before settling in the UK. She left behind four children — Samantha, Sheldon, Slade, and a younger daughter — whose ages now range between 24 and 15. Similarly, her husband, David Clark, was also born and raised in South Africa, but he also acquired British citizenship. The paths of David and Melanie had initially crossed during their childhood. They were once again reconciled as adults when both simultaneously divorced their erstwhile spouses.
A deep connection blossomed between them, leading to their marriage around 2005. David then adopted Melanie’s children from her previous marriage and they established a household in South Africa. In 2011, they relocated their family to the UK, eventually finding a residence in Bromsgrove. David secured a position with a firm of chartered surveyors, initially fostering a harmonious family life. Hence, it was shocking when David called 999 around midnight on 2017 New Year’s Eve to report his 43-year-old wife was deceased.
The police arrived within minutes to find Melanie dead in the upstairs bedroom of their family Bromsgrove residence. She was lying on her back, heavily bloodstained, with part of the lobe of her right lung protruding from the deep wound to her chest. She had been fatally stabbed just once with severe force through the chest. The lack of defensive injuries indicated she did not even have the chance to fight her killer. However, the investigators did not have to look for this assailant since they immediately confessed to their heinous actions.
Who Killed Melanie Clark?
While Melanie and David seemed to have a nourishing and fruitful relationship at first, it began to fray as time elapsed, mirrored by the strained interactions between him and the children. The turbulence within their relationship became more apparent from 2015 onwards. Heated arguments and the frequent use of strong language became common between the couple, and it was ostensibly often directed at the children too. In fact, per reports, David exhibited distinct idiosyncrasies and an inclination toward controlling and toxic behavior.
These peculiar traits were apparent in various aspects of David’s life, such as his meticulous clothes organization and interactions with others. This penchant for order extended to his living space too, where everything needed to be properly arranged, leading to clashes with the children over maintaining this level of precision. His need for control occasionally escalated too, notably concerning Melanie’s smoking and drinking habits. Records indicate Melanie also used provocative language occasionally, contributing to their strained dynamic.
Then, according to official court documents, in late 2015 and early 2016, David began to suspect Melanie was having an affair, prompting periods where he temporarily moved out of their home in Bromsgrove. However, despite these separations, he always retained the option to leave the family situation. The deterioration of their relationship became more pronounced in November and December of 2016. During this period, David openly used dating websites and engaged with other women, notably Julie Hutton, to elicit jealousy from Melanie.
The couple thus decided to separate again, and David was preparing to move out by mid-December. As this 2016 month unfolded, a series of incidents further strained their association. He reported threats made by Melanie to the police, though subsequent evidence did not substantiate any serious concerns. On another occasion, he ingested pills, alluding to suicidal thoughts, which prompted a call to paramedics by her. The couple also had a physical confrontation on December 14, resulting in her being pushed out of bed and sustaining bruises.
Despite this tumultuous period, the still-married couple ultimately decided to reconcile and spent Christmas together as a family. Early in 2017, the younger daughter returned to South Africa to live with her biological father. Then, by April, David had moved back into the family home full-time. However, per records, while their relationship maintained a sexual aspect, they intermittently occupied separate bedrooms to sleep at night. David took up residence in one of the smaller front bedrooms, where he stored various kitchen utensils, including sharp knives.
By late November 2017, the couple’s relationship had once again deteriorated. David’s close friend, Stephen Bastions, visited with his daughter Katie, leading to an event that further caused issues. On December 28, 2017, Stephen and Katie stayed overnight at the Clarks’ residence, and events involving Melanie and Katie spending time upstairs led to David’s belief in a sexual encounter between them. So, on New Year’s Eve, David and Melanie enjoyed an initially cheerful evening at another friend’s house, only for it to take a dark turn once they returned home.
In an hour, fueled by alcohol and increasingly bitter arguments, the exchange between the couple escalated through WhatsApp messages and verbal confrontations. David’s attempts to involve Stephen by forwarding messages about Melanie’s supposed encounters with Katie only aggravated the situation. Fueled by jealousy, he wielded a kitchen knife from his smaller bedroom and fatally stabbed his wife. He then called 999, admitting he had killed her. Court records stated he vacillated between conflicting emotions, expressing love, hate, and thoughts of suicide.
Where is David Clark Now?
Upon police arrival, they found David in disarray, wearing bloodied clothing, and appearing to have attempted self-harm. David’s two sons, Sheldon and Slade, also returned home to discover the grim scene and were hence taken to their neighbors’ house. Throughout his 2018 trial, he maintained having no memory of events after their last texts. His defense asserted he was the victim of an abusive relationship, accusing Melanie of belittling and humiliating him. Yet, the jury rejected this narrative, finding evidence of mutual turbulence and offensive language.
The severity of the stabbing, conducted with a mere knife, during nighttime in Melanie’s home under the influence of alcohol led to a longer than minimum term for David. On the other hand, mitigating factors were considered, including his lack of premeditation, immediate remorse as shown in the 999 call, and some provocation from Melanie’s side leading up to the day. The court sentenced him in July 2018, imposing a life term with a minimum of 15 years minus 191 days to be served; so that’s where David remains to this day, behind bars in an His Majesty’s Prison.