Friends of murderer Shaye Groves say she was ‘manipulative weirdo’

Former schoolfriends of ‘weirdo’ killer Shaye Groves have reflected on her fetish for true crime, masochism and BDSM – as she begins her life sentence for murder.

The mother-of-one, who wore a satanic jacket and smiled as she was sentenced for the brutal killing of her lover Frankie Fitzgerald, 25, has doomed herself to a life of isolation while her young child grows up motherless. 

Groves, 27, was sentenced at Winchester Crown Court for slitting the throat of Mr Fitzgerald before stabbing him 17 times in the chest in July last year.

A close friend of Groves from childhood has spoken anonymously about the warning signs of Groves who nicknamed her childhood friend Lauren White, ‘Chucky’, after a murdering doll she says was always ‘quite strange’. 

She said: ‘We used to hang out. Shaye was quite strange. She was unique, the way she dressed, what she was into – she used to like Chucky dolls and was interested in them.

Groves , pictured as a young girl, was described as ‘manipulative’ by her old friends 

In her mid twenties, Groves developed a taste for bondage and machoism

In her mid twenties, Groves developed a taste for bondage and machoism 

Killer doll: The terrifying 'Chucky' from 80s horror classic Child's Play

Killer doll: The terrifying ‘Chucky’ from 80s horror classic Child’s Play

‘When she was younger she was different to what she is now – she was more girly.

‘But, she was never like a girly girl and she always stood out from the crowd.

‘We’d all be in bright colours and she’d be the one in dark clothes, even from that age.

‘She didn’t wear what she wore now – she wasn’t a goth – but she was always unique..

‘She’s always been a bit strange.’

According to the ex-friend, in recent years Groves didn’t socialise much and spent more time with Ms White and Vikki Baitup – who reported her to the police after video calling her and showing her Mr Fitzgerald’s body.

‘She didn’t used to go out very much, she used to stay in with Lauren and that Vikki Baitup,’ she added.

Speaking about Groves friendship with White, she added: ‘Lauren would do whatever Shaye wanted her to do.

‘She was very manipulative – Lauren didn’t have many friends and Shaye used to be the one there for her.’

Earlier this month, jurors at Winchester Crown Court convicted serial killer obsessed Groves of the charge of murder after a five-week trial where she had tried to portray herself as his victim. 

The revelations included in the trial ranged from the shocking details of the couple’s sex life to the chillingly blasé way Groves reacted to being arrested – cooly smoking a cigarette in a pink dressing gown in the kitchen of her serial killer decorated Havant home.  

Over the arduous course of proceedings, the tragic and twisted story of Groves’ life began to emerge. 

Shaye Groves before she became heavily tattooed

Old friends of Groves say she was 'strange'

Old friends of killer Shaye Groves have said she was always a ‘strange’ person

In pictures as recent as 2019, Groves can be seen smiling as she bakes cakes with her young daughter.

She looks comfortable with motherhood and at ease, happy.

In a post to her daughter prior to her starting primary school, Groves wrote of her pride that she had grown up to be a ‘beautiful independent girl with a whole lot of attitude’ and promised to ‘always be here to guide you.’ 

The doting mother of yesteryear cuts a decidedly different image now – bloated with tattoos and piercings, her face seemingly set to a permanent leering smirk in her police photos. 

Another woman, who met Groves once at a Popworld nightclub through her friendship with Ms White and also wished to remain anonymous, said: ‘Shaye used to bully Lauren and make her do things.

‘I’ve been out clubbing with her and Shaye was just a bit of a weirdo.’

Regarding her tattoos, she added: ‘It must have been two years ago she had the throat one done, but she didn’t have the big line down her face.

‘And she used to have a lip piercing but not all those other ones.

‘She did start to dress a bit ‘gothy’ about two years ago as she was turning goth – weirdo.’

Prior to the gruesome murder, Groves had developed an unhealthy obsession with true crime. 

In the house she shared with her young daughter, the walls were filled with photos of famous murderers – from Jeffrey Dahmer to Ted Bundy. 

Whilst her daughter played with dolls, Groves would play with the decorative Celtic daggers that she kept on her coffin shaped book shelf. 

Groves smiled as she was sentenced to life in prison

Groves smiled as she was sentenced to life in prison

Her grim house was decorated with portraits of serial killers

Her grim house was decorated with portraits of serial killers 

Groves kept ceremonial daggers at the side of her bed on a coffin shaped shelf

Groves kept ceremonial daggers at the side of her bed on a coffin shaped shelf 

She even had coffee cups decorated with film murderers

She even had coffee cups decorated with film murderers 

Groves kept many knives dotted around the house

Groves kept many knives dotted around the house 

At nights, Groves would binge watch true crime documentaries and re-read her collected books about gangsters, including the notorious prisoner Charles Bronson. 

She even had serial killer mugs. 

This unhealthy obsession allied with a sexual fetish for heavy BDSM involving domination and machoism reached a crescendo when she was introduced to 25-year-old Frankie Fitzgerald at a pub in January 2022 – whose performance in the bedroom made Groves violently possessive. 

Over the course of their 6 month relationship, the two pushed their sexual appetites to the absolute limit – using four ‘decorative’ knives with depictions of film villains Chucky, Jigsaw and Pennywise for ‘knife play’ – but as their taste became wilder, a line was fatally blurred. 

On July 17 last year, Groves flew into a jealous rage after she witnessed Frankie allegedly speaking to a 13-year-old girl on Instagram – a claim that was proven false. 

That night, as he slept, she took her twisted revenge and slit her lovers throat with a Celtic ritual dagger before madly stabbing at his chest 22 times. 

When he was quiet dead, the crazed true crime obsessive began to formulate an insidious plan to get away with her crime – using the tricks of the trade she had learned from her TV shows. 

Frankie Fitzgerald, 25, was Groves' lover and tragic victim

Frankie Fitzgerald, 25, was Groves’ lover and tragic victim 

Knowing she would be suspected in Frankie’s murder, Groves set about changing the optics and tried to portray herself to her friend, Vicky Baitup, as a victim of Mr Fitzgerald’s sexual violence. 

In the horrid videos of the two having sex, Groves had clumsily edited the footage to make it appear as rape – a ruse that the prosecution saw through.

She also rang a friend ‘giggling’ after killing her lover- showing his body and saying ‘I’ve done him.’ 

But after all her lies and ruses, it ended the way it always does for the people in the true crime documentaries she binged.

Sentencing her to life with a minimum term of 23 years, Mr Justice Kerr told Groves she was not a ‘cold-blooded murderer’ and the killing was a ‘crime of passion’ telling her ‘you loved the man you killed, and you killed the man you loved.’

This will be scant consolation for his family or Groves as she begins one of the life sentences she read about in her gangster books.