Lancashire

Girlfriend 'killed in sex game' in Colne

A man accused of murdering his girlfriend at his Lancashire flat has said she enjoyed being throttled during sex and her death was accidental.

Daniel Lancaster, 25, from Colne, claims Anna Banks, 23, would often punch him if he did not satisfy her.

The prosecution claim her death was not an accident and that he intentionally strangled her after he suspected she was seeing another man.

He admits manslaughter but denies murder at Manchester Crown Court.

Miss Banks' body was found at the flat on Hawley Street just after midnight on 22 December last year.

Mr Lancaster had called for an ambulance, but it is believed she had been dead for well over 24 hours.

In his closing speech at the court, Dennis Watson QC, defending, said his client panicked when he realised Miss Banks was not going to wake up.

He said: "The fact that he made the wrong decision afterwards does not mean that he deliberately killed her.

'Complete charade'

He added: "He probably knew in his heart of hearts that she was dead but he could not bring himself to face up to that because of the awful consequences of him having strangled her as she wished him to do.

"There cannot be a clearer case of someone burying his head in the sand."

Mr Watson said Mr Lancaster had texted a friend that it had been an accident, so if it had been deliberate then he must have engaged in a "complete charade" for several hours.

He said Mr Lancaster was scared because he had had sex with her in this way many times before without consequence and had now lost his best friend.

The jury heard earlier that he was said to have confessed to murdering Miss Banks to a cell mate following his arrest.

Mr Watson told the jury it never took place and was a plan hatched by his fellow prisoner, who did not want to be sharing a cell with Mr Lancaster, and who hoped by providing evidence he would be moved to a different one.

A post-mortem examination of Miss Banks' body showed "well developed" signs of asphyxia, consistent with fingers and thumbs being placed on the front of the neck.

The couple had been in a relationship for four months and lived in separate flats in a home for vulnerable adults.

The trial continues.

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