1. ITV Report

"Brutal monster" sentenced to life for killing his lover

A man has been found guilty of strangling his married lover and leaving her dead body on a bed, which he set on fire.

Stephen Streener was sentenced to life in prison and will serve at least 18 years for the murder of Jacqueline Grant, 48, in Choppington, Northumberland, last year.

Her badly burnt body was found by firefighters at Streener's house on Meadowbank Drive, where she had been living with him after leaving her marriage. Her husband Robert, who did not know about the affair, believed she was staying temporarily with a female friend.

On November 29, prosecutors said "something happened" which led to Streener beating her and strangling her with a cord, which he had tied to cabinets on either side of the bed. He set fire to the bed and left the house.

Later, he returned, and appeared to be "in shock". In court, he denied having anything to do with the murder.

Streener tried to claim Mrs Grant had been killed by a hitman hired by her husband and son. He said the murder had happened while he was not at home.

Northumbria Police said the killing was calculated, and the actions of a "very disturbing and dangerous man".

"The moments leading up to her death will continue to haunt us for the rest of our lives and we hope this monster is never released.

"Jacqueline was a bubbly, kind, trusting and caring person who would help anybody in any way she could. She was an adored wife and soul mate to Bob, a mother and best friend to Robert and an adored daughter and sister.

"She was a bubbly, kind sister in law and aunt and a kind caring friend to many. All of her family and friends miss her dreadfully.

"Jacqueline will never return to us but she will live on in our memories and those of her friends, until such time when we can be re-united."

– Family of Jacqueline Grant

"After murdering Jacqueline Grant, Stephen Streener tried to put plans in place to cover what he did up - these included setting fire to the crime scene, sending fake text messages to himself from Jacqueline's phone and fabricating a far fetched story about intruders breaking into the house.

"Thanks to some excellent work by our officers and the fire service we were able to piece together what happened inside Meadowbank Drive and bring Streener to justice.

"I hope this result brings some form of closure to everyone affected by the incident and people can take some comfort that a dangerous individual is off the streets for a considerable period of time."

– Detective Chief Inspector Ian Bentham, Northumbria Police

The family of Jacqueline Grant have released a statement saying she died at the hands of "a brutal monster".

“From the point at which he murdered Jacqueline Grant, Streener has shown no remorse for his actions. By setting fire to his home he attempted to hide what he had done, an act that he continued to deny throughout the police investigation...he then attempted to shift the blame to Jacqueline’s grieving family, fabricating a story that they had taken out a contract on her life.

“Through his calculated actions Streener has prolonged their suffering...Our thoughts are with her family at this time and I would hope that they take some comfort in the sentence handed down today.”

– Gerry Sydenham, head of the Crown Court unit at CPS North East