A double killer has been branded an "evil monster" as he’s handed a life sentence for smothering his partner to death.
62-year-old Paul Plunkett must serve at least 23 years for murdering grandmother Barbara Davison, from Redcar.
It was the second time he killed a partner in her home, in both cases to silence a petite, vulnerable woman.
The chronic alcoholic served a three-year sentence for manslaughter after strangling Jacqueline Aspery in October 1995.
Plunkett never told Mrs Davison of his previous conviction for unlawful killing during their "volatile" nine-year relationship.
Plunkett forcefully smothered Mrs Davison, 66, in the kitchen of her home on William Street, Redcar on August 15thlast year.
Mrs Davison, who weighed less than 7st, was heard shouting, screaming and crying, Teesside Crown Court heard.
The court heard he told his daughter he "put his fist in her mouth so she couldn't breathe", though the defence disputed this.
He then went back to his flat on Station Road, Redcar, before police broke in and arrested him. He had cut his own throat and wrist.
He told officers Mrs Davison "went berserk" in an argument, shouting at him. He said he panicked in a drunken state and repeatedly put his hand over her mouth to stop her shouting and screaming.
- "'Wicked act' deprived family of loving gran"
Peter Makepeace QC, defending, said Plunkett did the only decent thing he could - to plead guilty.
He said there was limited evidence of domestic difficulties, with not all contacts to police instigated by her and no prosecutions.
He said the pathological evidence suggested Plunkett's account of events was accurate, and argued against a "whole life" tariff for the double killer.
- STATEMENT: Judge Simon Bourne-Arton QC, the Recorder of Middlesbrough
Judge Bourne-Arton continued:
"Her death was not immediate, therefore she would have suffered before she died.
It’s quite clear there must have been some time when she was fighting for her life. After you killed her and when you knew she was dead, you did nothing. This is the second occasion that you have unlawfully killed one of your partners."
The judge held back from handing a whole life sentence, but greatly increased Plunkett's minimum term because of his previous manslaughter conviction.
Plunkett was jailed for life with a minimum of 23 years to serve before he will be eligible for parole.