THE murder of Natalie Hemming didn't just rob Joanne Beverley of a beloved sister - it totally changed her life.

Joanne was running a successful childcare business as a working mum with four children of her own. But in May last year her life changed forever when her sister Natalie was beaten to death by her jealous partner Paul Hemming, who had found out Natalie was seeing someone else and was preparing to leave him.

Joanne, who lives at Woolley Grange, had to give up her business and has taken in two of Natalie's three children, meaning she is now looking after six children aged between 18 months to 16. And on Saturday she hosted a pop-up coffee shop at her home to raise money for the charity Refuge. 

But despite that Joanne is throwing herself into fund-raising for women's charities and campaigning for a national support network to help those dealing with the aftermath of murder and manslaughter.

"For all of us it has been completely life changing," said Joanne, 39, of Rosefield Avenue. "You can find you get this army of people who come into your life overnight when things like this happen. I'm lucky, I've got my sister who has Natalie's other child. I've got my husband, I've got people around me. But not everybody has that support network.

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"That's why I'd like to see a national support network for people who lose someone through murder or manslaughter, as there isn't really anything like that.

"There is the victim support team, and they have been fantastic, but I think for me as a mum it would be so helpful to be able to talk to another mum who is going through the same thing, perhaps a few years further down the line than you are."

Natalie, 31, had lived at Redbrook in Joanne's old house a couple of years ago when she had first tried to end her relationship with Hemming who she shared a surname with but was not married to, but she ended up back with him. She was living in Milton Keynes in May last year when Hemming beat her to death in the lounge of their home while their children slept upstairs.

He was found guilty of her murder following evidence from their six-year-old son who had peeked through a gap in the door and seen his mother's body wrapped in a blanket. Hemming was jailed for life last November and told he must serve at least 20 years.

Her family is also raising money for women's charities in Natalie's memory.

Joanne's brother Steve Smith is running the Birmingham Marathon in October for Winston's Wish, a charity which supports children who have lost family through murder or manslaughter. And Joanne is taking part in Walk4Refuge in London in September.

And to kick-start her fund-raising for that, she raised more than £300 for the charity Refuge by opening her garage as a pop-up coffee shop on Saturday. 

Joanne thanked everyone who had supported the event.