Heywood knifeman jailed for life after stabbing partner to death in middle of street

Greater Manchester killer Paul O’Hara was today sentenced to life imprisonment for the murder of his girlfriend Cherylee Shennan in a frenzied knife attack.

O’Hara, of Honiton Close, Heywood, had pleaded guilty to stabbing Cherylee Shennan to death with a kitchen knife and the assault and wounding of two police officers who tried to save her life.

The 40-year-old former beauty salon boss was attacked in the street as she fled her hillside cottage shortly before her 13-year-old daughter was about to arrive home from school.

Jonathan Storer, Senior District Crown Prosecutor for CPS North West said: “Paul O’Hara carried out a calculated and unprovoked attack on his partner and on two police officers.  He attacked the officers as they did all they possibly could to save her.

“Today, an extremely dangerous man has been taken off the streets where he can no longer pose risk to the public.

“I would like to offer the family and friends of Cherylee my deepest condolences, my thoughts are very much with them at this time.”

The incident occurred at 3pm on Monday March 17 after witnesses saw a disturbance outside Miss Shennan’s terraced cottage.

Neighbours said they had heard a row before seeing Miss Shennan knelt on the floor in a neighbouring street as her attacker appeared to be ‘punching’ her.

An air ambulance was scrambled to the scene in the race to revive her but Miss Shennan was pronounced dead before she could be taken to hospital.

A post mortem examination revealed she died of multiple stab wounds.

Police arrested O’Hara in a nearby garden shortly after the attack when officers sprayed him with CS gas. It is believed a kitchen knife was recovered at the scene.

Miss Shennan had been dating O’Hara after splitting up from the father of her teenage daughter, Graham Leach.

The tragedy occurred ten years after businesswoman Miss Shennan and her then partner Mr Leach, 38, who ran a property company, had moved to Rawtenstall.

Nicknamed ‘Chez’, she set up her own beauty salon in the town and vowed to make it one of the UK’s top 10 within two years – holding a champagne launch party and inviting her local newspaper.

But the salon shut down and she worked with Mr Leach at his now-defunct loft insulation firm.

In 2009, she enrolled on a foundation degree in forensic science at the University of Central Lancashire but failed to complete the course and ended up working as a carer.

One neighbour said: “Chez was a lovely, friendly woman who knew a lot of people in the area.”

Another added Miss Shennan and Mr Leach appeared to still be on good terms.

“Sometimes I would see Graham walking the huskies and was still coming back to decorate the house,” she said.

“Graham is a workaholic and was a grand man. It’s just tragic – and I feel for him and his daughter.”

Image via hugovk, with thanks

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