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Conman guilty of murder

A "conman" who cheated more than £60,000 out of his wealthy secret lover has been found guilty of her murder

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Conman jailed for life over Cheshire murder

A "brutal and sadistic" conman who murdered and mutilated the body of his secret lover after cheating her out of more than £60,000 was jailed for life with a minimum term of 34 years today.

Businesswoman Diana Lee, 54, was bludgeoned to death at her home in affluent East Cheshire by her debt-ridden boyfriend David Ryan, a trial at Chester Crown Court heard.

He denied murder but was found guilty by a jury of six men and six women after a seven-week trial.

David Ryan sentenced to life in prison Credit: Cheshire Police
Ryan's victim Diana Lee Credit: Cheshire Police

The divorcee's naked body was found face-down and mutilated in a wheelbarrow full of wood by firefighters who were called to attend a blaze at her gated detached property in the leafy village of Cranage, near Holmes Chapel, on August 9 last year.

Ms Lee - the owner of a "luxury cattery" - suffered fatal head wounds from "a sustained attack with a blunt object" and was mutilated by Ryan in an attempt to get rid of DNA evidence.

Ryan, with greying, shoulder-length hair and wearing a grey suit, shirt and striped tie, gave no reaction as the sentence was handed down by Mr Justice Henriques.

As he was led from the dock to the cells, the victim's brother, who had been in tears for much of the sentencing hearing, shouted: "Evil scum."

Ms Lee's ex-partner, Neville Barratt - whom, the court heard, Ryan tried to frame for the murder - also shouted "Scum" and had to be restrained by a friend when he lunged forward in the public gallery as the defendant was led away by two security guards.

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