Man murdered mother-in-law Mari O'Flynn after she refused to give him cigarettes

Mari O'Flynn was found dead at her home in Newport on Thursday May 24. Credit: Media Wales

A man has been jailed for strangling his mother-in-law to death following an argument over cigarettes.

Simon Parks killed great-grandmother Mari O'Flynn, 79, and sexually assaulted her after at their family home in Newport.

Parks and Mrs O'Flynn's daughter, Claire, had been in a relationship for 14 years.

Mrs O'Flynn was living with her daughter and Parks at their home on Leach Road in Bettws after she moved back to the UK from Greece following the death of her husband.

The pair would regularly argue, the court heard. Parks made a number of threats to mother-of-three and had previously held a knife up to her during an argument.

Parks will spend at least 25 years behind bars. Credit: Gwent Police

He moved out of the address in January and only returned just five days before launching the attack.

The court heard heavy drinker Parks had been dropped off at a shop by his partner at 6am on May 24 where he bought eight cans of lager before returning a short time later to buy four more cans and cigarettes.Parks was spotted on CCTV as he made it back home at around 8am while Mrs O'Flynn was the only one inside.

The court heard he regularly asked her for money and cigarettes. When she refused to give Parks, cigarettes he launched a fatal assault on her.He was seen leaving the house at 9.25am after changing his clothes and dabbing blood from his cheek with a tissue.

Speaking to a neighbour, Parks said: "I have done it now, I've killed her."

The court heard how Parks repeatedly punched Mrs O'Flynn in the face before strangling her to death at their home. Credit: Google Maps

When asked why he had done this, he responded: "Fags, I didn't have any cigarettes and I asked her for some and she wouldn't give me any. She wound me up so I strangled her."

The emergency services had been called to the house where her body was discovered, partially naked and with bruises on her face and neck.A post mortem revealed the injuries were consistent "manual strangulation" and she died from "pressure to the neck."

Parks was arrested with "fresh gouge marks to his face" and said he had launched the attack over "poxy cigarettes."He said: "She tipped me right over the edge and that was it."

During sentencing at Cardiff Crown Court, prosecutor Michael Jones KC said Mrs O'Flynn was a "vulnerable, frail... lady".

"He [Parks] harboured resentment and anger towards Mrs O'Flynn because she had moved in with his partner."

After Parks was sentenced to life in prison at Newport Crown Court, Mrs O'Flynn's family described how their "mam" was taken away from them in "terrible circumstances".

The family of Mari O'Flynn said she will be remembered for "her sparkle" Credit: Family photo

"It's now time for us to grieve in private and try to move on with our lives.

"We will always try to remember mam for her sparkle, repeating her funny stories about the good times she had living in Greece, or hogging the TV to watch all the sport, whilst drinking endless cups of tea."