Manchester

Lynne Howarth murder: Steven Dunks jailed for life

Steven Dunks Image copyright GMP
Image caption A detective said the attack carried out by Steven Dunks was the most violent he had seen

A man who battered his former partner to death in a jealous rage causing "catastrophic damage" to her head and face has been jailed for life.

Steven Dunks attacked Lynne Howarth using "terrible force" at her home in Heywood, Greater Manchester, after she began a new relationship.

He then sent messages from her Facebook account in an attempt to make her family believe she was still alive.

Dunks, 45, was handed a life sentence at Manchester Crown Court.

He was told he must serve a minimum sentence of 19 years.

The court heard Dunks of Milnrow Road, Shaw, Oldham, had been in a volatile on-and-off relationship with 43-year-old Ms Howarth for 18 months, and was dating a second woman during that same time.

Image caption Lynne Howarth's body lay undiscovered for a month

When the relationship ended, he refused to accept Ms Howarth had met a new partner on a dating website.

On 18 July 2014, he confronted the pair at Ms Howarth's home and said he "would rather see her dead before seeing her with someone else", police said.

He murdered her after turning up at her home again in the early hours of 27 July. Her body remained undiscovered for a month.

During that time, Dunks used Ms Howarth's bank card to steal £300 and sent messages to her family in her name via her mobile phone.

After the sentencing, Det Ch Insp Richard Eales of Greater Manchester Police said: "Dunks was quite happy to string along two women at the same time, but the thought of her moving on with her life and finding a new partner sent him into a terrible rage.

"He ended her life in one of the most violent ways I have seen as a detective, using enough force to cause catastrophic damage to her head and face.

"I hope this sentence can go some way to comforting Lynn's family during this tremendously difficult time."

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