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'Sex act' murderer jailed for life

A man has been jailed for life after being convicted of the murder of a respected solicitor.

Philip Martins, 48, either strangled or smothered Linda Bakewell, 45, before hiding her body for four days as a desperate search was conducted by her family, friends and police.

"Callous" Martins then tried to blacken the successful lawyer's memory by falsely claiming she accidentally choked to death while performing a sex act on him.

Martins was sentenced at Chester Crown Court after a jury found him guilty of murder.

The panel of seven women and five men took around two hours to return a unanimous verdict at the end of a 10 day trial.

The machine operator, from Somerford Walk, Widnes, Cheshire, showed no emotion as the verdict was delivered.

Martins, wearing a white shirt and black suit and tie, stood in the dock with his hands in his pockets as Judge Elgan Edwards told him his conduct was "quite disgraceful".

The judge said his behaviour towards "this unfortunate woman, who was besotted with you" was contemptible. "That contempt was practised during her life and continued after you had killed her," he said.

"I am satisfied that you intended to kill her in that dark spot in Widnes. You then coldly and calculatedly tried to hide the body and to obstruct her friends and family, who were desperate with worry as to what happened to her."

The judge added that it was an "extremely distressing" case and extended his sympathy to Ms Bakewell's family, who were in the public gallery. They made no comment as they left court.

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