Burnley man jailed for murdering lodger

Dean Thompson
Image caption Thompson changed his plea to guilty as the trial was due to get under way

A man has been jailed for murdering his lodger, who was found tied up and strangled at his home in Lancashire.

The partially-clothed body of Shelley Barnes was found in a bedroom of the property on Hobart Street, Burnley, on 7 November 2010.

Dean Thompson, 50, was due to go on trial at Preston Crown Court earlier when he changed his plea to guilty.

He was sentenced to life in jail and told he must serve a minimum of 17 years before being eligible for parole.

Det Insp Pete Broome, from Lancashire Police's Major Investigation Team, said Ms Barnes had met an "appalling death at the hands of Thompson".

Image caption Police said Ms Barnes had suffered "unimaginable terror"

He had befriended his victim and let one of his rooms to her a few months before her death.

"She was tied up, strangled and had a bag placed over her head. The terror she must have gone through is unimaginable," said Det Insp Broome.

"Quite what prompted him to commit such a heinous crime, we may never know.

"I am pleased that Thompson has now pleaded guilty to murder, not only for the investigation team, but more importantly for the Shelley's family, who now no longer have to go through the ordeal of a trial."

Family liaison officers are continuing to support Ms Barnes' family and Mr Broome said his thoughts remained with them.

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