Video report by ITV News correspondent Rachel Townsend
A man has been jailed for life for the murder of a woman who has been missing for more than two years.
48-year-old Alan Edwards told Preston Crown Court he last saw Susan Waring as she kissed him goodbye and walked out of his flat at Darwen in Lancashire on January 30, 2019.
But the prosecution claimed Edwards was a “violent bully” who killed the 45-year-old and then disposed of her body.
Miss Waring’s mother reported her missing several days later but despite extensive police inquiries, her whereabouts are unknown and there is no evidence to say she is alive, the court was told.
Last week, jurors took less than 90 minutes to reach a unanimous guilty verdict of the murder of Miss Waring, while Edwards maintained that he 'is still waiting for her to come back'.
Miss Waring's brother, Peter Waring, read out in court a victim personal statement from the family and directly pleaded to Edwards in the dock to reveal her whereabouts so they could "lay her to rest and have some closure".
Describing his sister as "gentle" and a person "who would never hurt a fly", he said: "The last two years have simply been hell for us. A nightmare that has continued to cause us turmoil every day.
Alan Edwards clearly manipulated Susan, preyed on her vulnerability and used her as a punchbag. This evil man has denied any wrongdoing and has told constant lies about his offending.
Edwards was also convicted of offences against four other women, including causing grievous bodily harm, assault occasioning actual bodily harm and making threats to kill.Those women gave evidence that they too were subjected to violent and controlling behaviour from Edwards at various times dating back to the 1990s.Opening the case in January, prosecutor Christopher Tehrani QC said Edwards was arrested in March 2019 and a subsequent thorough forensic examination of his address in Blackburn Road, Darwen, found blood on the walls and in the redecorated lounge.
More than 100 blood spots and traces of Miss Waring’s DNA were also found on a skull mask said to have been worn by the defendant as he struck his victim at close proximity.Edwards denied ever being violent with Miss Waring.
The judge said Edwards should serve a minimum term of 27 years, telling him: " The nightmare for Susan’s family continues.”