Woman killed 'after shouting out wrong name during sex'

Gary Higgs
Image caption Gary Higgs was ordered to serve a minimum term of 15 years

A man jailed for life for strangling his partner with an alarm clock cord claimed he killed her after she called out another man's name during sex.

Gary Higgs, 44, admitted murdering Joanne Kitchen, 41, at an earlier hearing at Manchester Crown Court.

Her body was found in a bedroom of their home in Radcliffe, Greater Manchester, in April. Post mortem tests found she was stabbed and strangled.

Judge Andrew Gilbart ordered him to serve a minimum term of 15 years.

Police said the couple met through social networking site Facebook last year.

They moved into their home in Dumers Lane, Radcliffe, last December.

Their landlord discovered her body on 13 April, after her family had been unable to contact her.

Ms Kitchen, a security guard at Holy Cross College in Bury, had been stabbed in the chest and back, as well as being strangled with the alarm clock cord, police said.

'Grave doubts'

Higgs went on the run but was found and arrested on wasteland shortly afterwards, having taken tablets and alcohol.

Prosecutor Paul Reid QC told the court Higgs had told police he had killed her after she shouted out the name Chris while having sex with him.

Judge Gilbart said there was no evidence Ms Kitchen had been having an affair, and even if there had been there was "no excuse" for Higgs' actions.

Vincent Chadwick, senior investigating officer in the case, said he had "grave doubts" as to whether Higgs' story was true.

He added: "He took out a kitchen knife and attacked Joanne from behind.

"She quite simply never stood a chance.

"Joanne was a popular woman and her murder has deeply affected all of her family and many friends."

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