Father jailed for strangling girlfriend to death with baby in same room

A father who strangled his girlfriend in an “explosion of anger” while their baby was in the same room has been jailed for life.

“Cynical and reprehensible” Ian Paton murdered partner Kayleigh Hanks at her flat and then went about arranging the crime scene to try and paint himself as the victim.

He was found guilty of murder at Hove Crown Court on Friday and jailed for life with a minimum term of 16 years and 165 days.

Ian Paton
Ian Paton was found guilty of murder (Sussex Police/PA)

Miss Hanks had been thrilled to find out she was pregnant after doctors told her she was unable to have children.

But now her daughter must grow up with the “barbaric loss” of her mother, Miss Hanks’ sister Emma Hanks told the court.

In the moments after the brutal murder, Paton set about cutting himself and arranging the scene to make it look like Miss Hanks, 29, had attacked him with a knife.

Paton, 36, of Snowdrop Rise in St Leonards bowed his head in the dock when the verdict was read out.

Sentencing him, Judge Jeremy Gold QC said: “I have no doubt that you strangled Kayleigh in an explosion of anger and then went about deliberately cutting yourself with the intention of advancing a false defence.

“That was a cynical and reprehensible action after what you had just done – taking the life of your newborn child’s mother.”

Kayleigh Hanks
Kayleigh Hanks was strangled to death at home (Sussex Police/PA)

He cited the “toxic” background of the relationship and Paton’s history of putting his hands to people’s throats.

Paton was given credit for a lack of pre-meditation and time spent on remand.

In an emotional statement read out on her behalf, Emma Hanks said her heart and the heart of her sister’s young daughter were “broken, shattered into tiny pieces”.

She said: “She knows her smell, her feel, the sound of her voice, how she looks and the feel of her cuddles.

“I can’t quite fill that void. There is little I can do to comfort her other than wipe away her tiny tears.”

Tom Nicholson-Pratt, representing Paton, spoke briefly and cited Paton’s lack of pre-meditation and said he had not intended to kill Miss Hanks.

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