Leigh man who strangled wife in credit card row and dumped body in pond jailed

A man who killed his wife and then left her body in a ditch he’d dug for a pond in the back garden of his Leigh home has been jailed for 11 years.

Thomas Flanagan, 57, told police that he grabbed his wife Elaine, 57, by the throat after she slapped him during a heated argument over finances in the kitchen of their home in Leigh.

She slumped to the ground after his attack, and at first he just left her dead body where she had fallen on the kitchen floor and carried on with his life, Manchester Crown Court heard

Days later, after the body began to smell he threw her body into a ditch in the garden that had been dug for a small fish pond.

But after four weeks he confessed the killing to a friend.

When police went to their home on August 17 they found Mrs Flanagan’s badly decomposed body in the ditch, covered by just a few branches and twigs.

He told police “I’ve killed her. She got on my nerves and I strangled her. I went completely off my head and I’ll make a full confession. Sorry mate.”

At court today he was jailed for 11 years after he pleaded guilty to manslaughter.

Police said the couple lived a fairly isolated life at their marital home in Wigan Road. During the day on Friday 25 July 2014, the couple had a heated argument about a credit card.

When interviewed later by police, Flanagan claimed his wife turned violent and slapped him, causing him to retaliate and grab her around the throat, pinning her up against the kitchen wall.

Senior Investigating Officer Duncan Thorpe said: “We may never know exactly what happened in the kitchen on the fateful morning Elaine was killed, but what we do know for certain is that Flanagan had more than three weeks to inform the authorities that his wife had died. Instead he left Elaine’s body in a shallow grave in their back garden.

“The couple did not have many friends and kept themselves to themselves, so it was not until Thomas confessed to a friend that the police became aware that Elaine had been killed.

“Ultimately, this is an extremely tragic case in which a woman lost her life following a heated argument and was denied a proper burial for nearly a month.”

Story via Cavendish Press.

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