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Man jailed for strangling wife and burying her in the garden

By Pat Hurst

A man who buried his wife in a shallow grave in his back garden has been jailed for 11 years.

Thomas Flanagan (57) strangled his wife Elaine and put her body in a ditch where they had attempted to dig out a fish pond.

He carried on his life as normal for a month until a friend asked why he had not seen his wife, aged 57, lately, and he replied: "I've killed her."

Police called to the house on Wigan Road in Leigh, Greater Manchester, got no reply, went round to the back garden and found Mrs Flanagan's body, badly decomposed, lying in the shallow ditch covered with leaves.

Yesterday, her husband pleaded guilty to manslaughter on July 25 this year and was jailed for 11 years at Manchester Crown Court.

The court heard the couple had rowed about a credit card and Flanagan claimed his wife turned violent, slapping him. He claims he retaliated, grabbing her around the throat and pinning her up against the kitchen wall before she crumpled to the ground.

Flanagan, instead of calling an ambulance, began drinking vodka, leaving his dead wife on the kitchen floor. When the friend called police they sent a patrol round to conduct a welfare check.

Flanagan was immediately arrested, and told the officer: "I've killed her. I strangled the woman. I went completely off my head and I'll make a full confession. Sorry mate."

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