Devon

'Callous' man who strangled girlfriend gets life sentence

Darrell Rose and Geraldine Mellor Image copyright NICK IRVING
Image caption Darrell Rose strangled Geraldine Mellor with his bare hands

A man who murdered his girlfriend with his bare hands has been sentenced to life in prison.

Darrell Rose, 36, strangled his girlfriend Geraldine Mellor, 32, after she tried to break up with him.

Exeter Crown Court was told neighbours heard Miss Mellor shouting "get out, get out" at Rose during an argument in her room.

Rose, from Exeter, will serve a minimum of 15 years for the "sudden attack in an explosion of temper" on 10 January.

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He became "besotted" with Miss Mellor during a six-month relationship and wanted to marry and "settle down", the court heard.

However, friends described her as a "free spirit" who was "interested in fun rather than commitment".

'Crash helmet'

The court heard how the immediate trigger for his attack was an argument about Miss Mellor borrowing a lighter from Rose's father's house when they visited him at Christmas.

Rose claimed Miss Mellor was in a rage and "flew at him with a crash helmet".

He said he held her by the throat to defend himself and had not intended to kill her.

However, the court heard how he had previously tried to strangle a former girlfriend and a nurse at Langdon Hospital in Dawlish.

'Up close and personal'

Despite Rose's previous mental health issues after a head injury nearly 20 years ago, Judge Paul Darlow said Rose's "frailties" had "nothing to do with it".

He told Rose: "The attack was in her own home - you strangled her with your bare hands.

"The attack must have been up close and personal - she was no more than an arm's length away from your face as you watched her struggle for breath and die."

"You initially attempted to lie your way out of it and thereafter to blame her. That also demonstrates your callousness," he said.

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