A couple who planned the "cold-blooded" murder of a pensioner in order to claim his life insurance have been jailed for a combined 60 years.

Muhammed Arif, 45, and Rukhsana Bibi, 38, were jailed at Preston Crown Court on Monday for their parts in the brutal killing of 65-year-old Mohammed Yousaf, Lancashire Police said.

The court heard Bibi, who was in a secret relationship with married man Arif, had divorced her then-husband, Arif's brother, in April last year and married Mr Yousaf two days later.

During the course of Mr Yousaf's relationship with Bibi, which lasted until his death in September, more than £24,000 was withdrawn from his savings account.

Detectives later found about £22,000 at Arif's home.

In July last year, while Mr Yousaf was out of the country, Arif and Bibi took out a fraudulent life insurance policy in his name which would have seen Bibi gain £244,000 if he died.

The pensioner also visited a solicitor with Arif and drew up a will leaving everything to his new wife.

The court heard Mr Yousaf was believed to have been murdered at his home on Granville Road, Accrington, on September 18, although his body was not discovered until three days later.

He was found to have suffered more than a dozen blows to the head and a slash wound to his throat.

Bibi was out of the country at the time of his death, but CCTV footage from a nearby pub on September 18 showed Arif"s car driving to and from Granville Road three times that evening.

"This murder was ruthlessly planned by Arif and Bibi, who manipulated a vulnerable and gentle member of the community, before taking everything they possibly could from him for their own financial gain.

Detective Chief Inspector Joanne McHugh, from the Force Major Investigation Team

Both Arif, of Washington Street, Accrington, and Bibi, of Wood Street, Todmorden, had denied the charges but were found guilty of murder following a trial.

Arif was sentenced to 32 years and Bibi was sentenced to 28 years.

Amna Khatoon Arif, 44, of Washington Street, Accrington, was sentenced to 15 months in prison, suspended for two years, for perverting the course of justice, after providing a false alibi for Arif for the night of the murder.