Man sentenced for killing woman in Burnley hammer attack

Leanne Unsworth Image copyright Family photograph
Image caption Leanne Unsworth was found at a property in Marlborough Street

A man killed a woman by hitting her with a hammer in an "unprovoked, brutal and frenzied attack of the utmost ferocity", police have said.

Shaun Sanders struck Leanne Unsworth multiple times on the head at her home in Burnley on 14 January.

Sanders, 40, was given a hospital order after admitting manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility at Preston Crown Court.

He was sentenced to life with a minimum term of four years and 48 days.

Ms Unsworth, 40, was found dead at her home on Marlborough Street at about 19:15 GMT.

Lancashire Police said it was agreed by the courts that Sanders, who has paranoid schizophrenia, was experiencing a psychotic episode at the time of the attack.

Image copyright Lancashire Police
Image caption Sanders struck Ms Unsworth "multiple times about the head with a hammer", police said

A force spokesman said Sanders would begin his sentence at a high-security psychiatric hospital and only be moved to a prison when he is deemed fit, adding that there was a possibility he would never be released.

Temporary Det Ch Insp Zoe Russo said Ms Unsworth was "the victim of an unprovoked, brutal and frenzied attack of the utmost ferocity by the defendant".

She said his plea to manslaughter "was only accepted after careful consideration of comprehensive psychiatric evidence".

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