30/11/2006

Man jailed for grandmother's murder

A man has been jailed for life for the murder of a grandmother in a bus station toilet 12 years ago.

Ian O'Callaghan, 38, was found guilty of the murder of 66-year-old Shirley Leach at Bury Interchange in January 1994.

Mrs Leach, a widow, was attacked in a toilet cubicle at the station. She was sexually assaulted and then strangled. Her body was also mutilated by the removal of her right breast.

O'Callaghan, who had denied murder, was eventually caught through DNA evidence left at the scene. He had cut himself during the killing, leaving traces of his blood at the scene. Earlier this year, when he was arrested for drink-driving, police took a DNA swab which matched the blood of Mrs Leach's killer.

At sentencing at Manchester Crown Court on Thursday, Mr Justice Henriques said that O'Callaghan, who had a string of convictions for sexual offences, had attacked Mrs Leach in "a most vicious and violent way".

O'Callaghan reportedly collapsed in the dock and cried as he was sentenced to a minimum of 28 years in prison.

(KMcA)


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