Life sentence for Burnley murderer

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A BURNLEY man has been jailed for life after admitting murdering a 38-year-old woman he had given the chance to live under his roof.

Dean Thompson strangled Shelley Barnes, a woman who had been staying at his home in Hobart Street and with whom there had been a relationship.

She was discovered last November lying face down, her hands tied behind her back with the belt of a dressing gown and a similar belt around her neck. A plastic bag had been placed over her head.

A judge at Preston Crown Court set his minimum term at 17 years and warned him he would only be considered for release when the parole board felt he could safely resume his place in society.

The defendant had gone on to say following the killing: “I lost the plot. I strangled her. She’s dead.”

The 50-year-old grandad pleaded guilty to murder on the day he had been due to stand trial at Preston Crown Court.

The defendant had told police in a prepared statement that their relationship had been mainly friends, rather than sexual.

He claimed her behaviour had become increasingly unpredictable and that he himself was suffering from depression and finding it difficult to cope. Thompson claimed to have been provoked.

Mr Peter Wright QC (defending) said there had been a deterioration in the relationship. Thompson had felt frustration and irritation and a loss of control led to the fatal events.

The defendant recognised he had deprived her children of their mother and by his conduct, effectively ended his own.

In passing sentence, Mr Justice MacDuff told Thompson: “The trigger for this wicked crime can never be known, what it was that caused you to act so out of character and take her life away.”